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Spring 2014
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 29, Number 2

Using Experiments and Media to Introduce Game Theory into the Principles Classroom

Boris Nikolaev, Oxford College of Emory University
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TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise29(2),2014,149160UsingExperimentsandMediatoIntroduceGameTheoryintothePrinciplesClassroomBorisNikolaevOxfordCollegeofEmoryUniversity______________________________________________________AbstractThiseducationalnotedescribesseveralvideoclipsfromtheTVshowGoldenBallsandtwoshortclassroomexperimentsthatcanbeusedtointroducethetopicofgametheoryintotheprinciplesclassroom.Italsosuggestssomeadditionalresourcesthatcanfurtherimproveteachingthetopic.______________________________________________________JELCodes:A2,A22,C70Keywords:Economiceducation,Classroomexperiments,GametheoryI.IntroductionRecentresearchinbehavioralpsychologysuggeststhathumor,games,andfantasyaremorethanjustfun(Brown2009).1Plentyofplaynotonlymakesushappier,butalsomakesussmarter.Playhelpsconceptualmemorytobedevelopedbyfiringupthecerebellumandincreasingneuronactivityintheexecutiveportionofthefrontallobe.Alargenumberofpedagogicalpapershaveemergedoverthepasttwentyyearssuggestingthatmoreplayfulmethodsofteachingeconomicsarealsomoreeffectivethanthecommonchalkandtalkstrategies.Thesealternativepedagogicaltoolsrangefromtheuseofmediaintheclassroom2toavarietyofclassroomdemonstrationsandexperiments.3Inthiseducationalnote,IshowhowvideoclipsfromthepopularBritishgameshowGoldenBallscanbeusedasaneffectivepedagogicaltoolinteachinggametheorytostudentsinprinciplesclasses.Inaddition,IdescribetwoshortexperimentsthatIusetodemonstratetheprisonersdilemma(PD)gameandthetragedyof1ATEDpresentationbyStuartBrownonthetopiccanbeseenatwww.youtube.com/watch?v=HHwXlcHcTHc.2Forexample,seeHolian(2011),Diamond(2009),HallandLawson(2008),MateerandLi(2008),andMateer(2004).3Anexcellentwebsitewithhundredsofdifferentgamesthateconomistsplayishttp://www.marietta.edu/~delemeeg/games/.149
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