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Lecture 9

Psychology 2990A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Social Dilemma, Environmental Psychology, Lottery

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Lecture 10 - Psychology 2990A 2016-12-18 8:29:00 PM
Environmental Psychology Lecture 2
Last Week:
Define: Environmental Psychology is concerned with:
Understanding the effects of natural built & social environments on
Understanding the effects of people on environments
Two basic questions:
o Why do people threaten the environment?
o How can we change their behavior?
We’re dealing with a classic social dilemma.
Part 1: Two-person (Prisoner’s dilemma)
Part 2: Social dilemma’s involving larger groups
Resource management dilemma (RMD): where people take too
much of a limited resource
Public good dilemma (PGD): where people don’t give enough.
This Week:
Part 3: How can we resolve social dilemmas:
Question: how can we increase cooperation?
Theme that emerged from last week:
o Note: with RMD, we take as much as possible to maximize
our short term benefits
o With PGD, we give as little as possible to minimize our short
term costs
A. Change the short-term payoff structure:
1. Increase “costs” for non-cooperative behavior so punish it
o We charge a fee (fine) as punishment
paying taxes
businesses can be for polluting the environment
every extra bag of garbage is either left behind or have
to buy tags for the extra bags, therefore a “cost” to it

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o Note: this is less effective if people believe:
They won’t get caught, OR;
Punishments won’t be given if caught
2. Increase “rewards” for cooperative behavior:
o People are more likely to take the bus if given free lottery
o Toll-free roads (or separate lanes) for people who use
o Tax rebates for saving electricity (during a shortage)
B. Increase perceptions of “trust” among the group members:
Each member of the group must believe that the other members
will cooperate perceptions of trust minimize this “sucker effect”
(If you don’t trust you’re more likely to compete for own
selfish interest, if you cooperate and everybody else is
competes for there own self interest that = a sucker)
How do we increase perceptions of trust?
o By observing others who are cooperating:
e.g. everyone’s using blue boxes to recycle
e.g. if only one putting out blue recycling on the street
can feel like sucker (others are getting a free ride)
o But, possible problem (with too much trust):
If most people are cooperating temptation to take a
“free ride” and not cooperate
Asks self: “how much harm will my garbage do if
everyone else is recycling?”
C. Increase communication between group members
(e.g. available on p. 254 game version of PGD)
In lab experiments, seen over and over again, consistent results
showed highest level of competition (competitive behavior) when
group members were not allowed to speak to one another
and highest level of cooperation occurred when group members
were allowed to discuss choices
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