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One could not work cooperatively while the other worked alone. If either subject chose to work alone, the other subject also had to work alone. Setting Characteristics and Procedures All experiments used a setting defined by the cooperative and individual alternatives. In addition, these experi- 26 II. METHODS: MEASUREMENT AND EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN ments employed procedures which followed a common logic. In each experiment a comprehensive training sequence was followed by a procedure in which the behavior of each pair was studied both in the presence and in the absence of a condition potentially disruptive of cooperation.

A more common alternative to cooperation in most situations is probably individual effort—working alone. For most persons, the market for their efforts is larger than the amount they produce. Thus, the scarcity of rewards which leads to competition is relatively infrequent. As Margaret Mead noted in her cross-cultural research on cooperation, We found it necessary to emphasize that the terms cooperative and competitive were not opposite, as they are so loosely used in popular speech. T o make our analysis complete we had to have a third category which we called individualistic behavior, that is, behavior in which the individual strives toward his goal without reference to others [Mead, 1937, p.

Thus, when the two subjects were cooperating, they were receiving unequal amounts for the same work, but more than they could by working alone. When working alone, both subjects received equal amounts, which were less than they could earn by working together. T h e major dependent variable was the proportion of responses which were cooperative under these conditions. Since all subjects preferred more money to less and worked on the cooperative task prior to the introduction of unequal—and hence inequitable—rewards, any work on the individual task reflected an economically "irrational" response to inequity.

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Amphion by Paul Valéry


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