The Wary Guerrillla, Part IV: An Experiment

Participants were recruited from a large midwestern university. The undergraduates were mostly traditional college age (93% were between 19 and 23). There were 90 males and 87 females. The experiment was designed and implemented using Medialab software. The participants answered questions and played the economic games on a computer. Steps were taken to create the false impression that participants were playing against other humans. At the beginning of the experiment, we asked participants if we could take their picture to use as an avatar for game play. This deception was designed to increase the perception that participants were playing against other human beings.

The game was organized as follows. Participants began the survey and were informed they would earn extra credit points for their actions. A series of distractor questions was asked and a distractor public goods game was played. Near the end of the experiment, the students were informed another student was given five additional extra credit points to divide and chose to keep four and give away one. Participants were informed that they could accept or reject this, where accepting meant the split stood as it was and rejecting meant that neither the participant nor the confederate would earn these additional points. Students who accepted the unfair split are considered either egoists or altruists. Students who rejected were considered wary cooperators.

After the rejection, an opportunity for punishment was given to the students. They were informed that they could use the points they had already gained by participating in the experiment in order to deduct the same amount of points from the other player. Participants who also accepted this second opportunity for punishment – those who would incur acute personal costs in order to punish injustice – are classified as Wary Guerrillas. Additionally, students who accepted the unfair split were also given the opportunity to punish. Participants that accepted and then punished are termed “Other Guerrillas” and are not covered by our theory.

The experiment is visually laid out below:

This paper focuses primarily on the Wary Guerrilla type as a sub-type of the Classic Wary Cooperator. The Egoist and Altruist types have been extensively explored elsewhere in the literature (Becker, 1976; Monroe, 1994). A few words exploring the “Other Guerrillas” are offered at the end of the results section.


The Wary Guerrilla, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Terrorism
3. Predictions
4. An Experiment
5. Results
6. Absolute Guerrilla
7. Those Who Cause Less Pain
8. Future Research
9. Political Implications
10. Bibliography

Slide Share, The Shelfy for Power Point

“Myspaces for” have been sprouting here and there lately. Mark (and myself, and Coming Anarchy, and Mountainrunner, &c) have talked about shelfy, while Adam of The Metropolis Times has blogged on flixster. The newest entrant into this mix is Slide Share. While the site may one day become a leading resource for those who present publicly, for now the most popular entrant is “Beautiful Indian Models – Kingfisher 2006 Calendar.”

Biopsychological Development

Last semester, my favorite and most intense class was on genetic factors in human behavior. The class exposed me to ways biology effects behavior that I would not have guessed, or could have come up with no scientific reason for. That class ended with the opportunity for a final project, which a partner and myself fulfilled by writing The Wary Guerrilla, which was just featured by Mark of ZenPundit. Along the way, my new interest in ethology led me to write Growing Pack Behavior in Juvenile Homo Sapiens and Student Nature for child psychology, as well as Classroom Democracy and Learning Evolved for college teaching. (Happily, I received “A”s in all those classes.)

For next semester, I am learning more of how these ideas impact human development. In a class on biopsychological development, we will be discussing The Origins of Human Nature: Evolutionary Developmental Psychology (the heart of the class, and perhaps too profound for Christmas break readings) as well as The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells us About the Mind and The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium to bookend the semester. These are lighter fair, the former focusing on a very “West Pole” theory of cognitive development and the latter being a SSSM rear-guard maneuver. My reaction papers to these appear below:


Gopnik, Meltzoff, & Kuhl

1. A Young Science and Young Scientists
2. Learning About People and Things
3. Children’s Minds and Brains


Joseph L. Graves. Jr.

1. The Origin of the Race Concept
2. Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism
3. Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism
4. Biological Theories of Race At the Millennium