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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine


by Mike Neuenschwander ~ June 1, 2008.
Permalink | Filed under: Hybrid Vigor, Social Trust Online.

Friday’s Wall Street Journal included an interesting article by Robert Lee Hotz entitled “Revenge of the Freeloaders.” Hotz discusses the findings of a study that used an economics game to explore the social dynamics of anonymous groups. Apparently, attitudes of free-loaders (those that chose to go-it-alone, rather than join a group) differ widely across cultures. Notably, the study showed how people are often more interested fairness than monetary gain (a concept at the heart of the Law of Relational Risk.) And faced with limited resources, when a loners retaliate against group pressure, they generally target the most generous contributors of the group, assuming them to be the ringleaders.

At first reading, the results of the study may seem foreboding for those of us interested in anonymous (or pseudonymous) online interactions. But in fact I’m thrilled to see this kind of primary research into our instinctual preconditions for collaboration. As I understand it, the researchers in this study used a basic public-good game as the basis for social interactions. So it would be of great value to devise more sophisticated games that can help scientists delve further into the psyches of collaborators and freeloaders. It’s also nice to see this kind of research getting such high level of media attention.

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