An Extra Credit Question That Makes You Think
A psychology professor in Maryland recently put an interesting extra credit question on his exam that has gone viral on Twitter.
The answer was pretty easy for me. I knew right away that I would choose the 2 points of extra credit, and I assumed that others would do the same. I was wrong. Selterman said that he has been using this question since 2008, and only ONE class has ever received the extra credit.
He explains the use of the question with the concept "tragedy of the commons." He said, "The tragedy of the commons is basically a dilemma between doing what’s good for you as an individual versus doing what’s best for the group. Now it stands to reason that people behave selfishly. But if too many people behave selfishly, the group will suffer…and then everyone in the group individually will suffer.”
Psychologist Karla Ivankovich added, “When you think no one is watching, left to our own devices, you are more likely to serve your own interests,” she continues. “If there is accountability, the chances are greater for a group consensus." So basically, if the professor had said that he would reveal everyone's individual answers to the entire class, things might have gone differently.
Essentially, this just proves that we are all selfish and our own needs are more important than everyone else's. But those extra 6 points sound mighty nice!