Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The non-zero-sum type game has been utilized to study behavior of an individual in a bargaining situation under various experimental conditions. Theoretical notions have been offered concerning the choice of trust or suspicion by the individual in these games and the underlying conceptual processes involved in such decisions. For the most part these notions have suggested content differences in values incorporated by the individual in the ego-process. Such conclusions then lead to the question that if such structural differences are involved in the bargaining process, then cannot the observed behavior of an individual in such a bargaining situation serve as a predictor of the value system that that person has incorporated within his own ego-process? It has long been accepted that maladjustive egofunctioning is notable in various types of mental disorders. In summarizing the wide range of symptoms which anti-social personalities display, Coleman (1956 p. 338) cites among others: 1). Inability on the part of the individual to understand and accept ethical values, except on the verbal level, or pursue socially accepted goals. 2). Egocentric impulsiveness, irresponsibility, lack of restraint, and poor judgment. A callous disregard for the needs and rights of others. 3). Inability to forego immediate pleasures for future gains and long-range goals. External realities used for immediate personal gratification. 4). Defective interpersonal and general social relationships. The individual usually is cynical, unsympathetic, ungrateful and remorseless in his dealings with others. Usually shows history of difficulties with educational and/or law-enforcement authorities. No close friends. The mal-adaptive ego-process usually found in the sociopathic personality would indicate divergent behavior in tacit bargaining. The proposition is forwarded that an individual who has been recognized by his colleagues and has been entrusted by them with authority to act in their behalf and benefit should display behavior in the bargaining situation which would tend to subserviate immediate personal gain for the more mutually desired end gain. The purpose of this paper was to devise experimental conditions to test the following hypotheses: 1 ). In a bargaining situation utilizing the non-zero sum type game, the individual who has been diagnosed as functioning with a sociopathic personality will display behavior indicating significantly more competitive choices then the individual who has no history of mal-adjusted behavior. 2). The individual who is considered a leader by his position, whether by appointment or election, with authority to represent and negotiate for his colleagues, will display behavior denoting more cooperative choices then an individual who is not considered a leader in the meaning given above, in the bargaining situation. It is further proposed in considering the symptoms usually found in the sociopathic personality, that the sociopath will display more suspicious behavior then the person with no history of mal-adjusted behavior. With impaired judgment and a callous disregard for the needs and rights of others along with the inability to forego immediate pleasures for future gains, the sociopath will be less trusting of his opponent in the bargaining situation. Functioning with defective interpersonal and social relationships, he will be suspicious of the motives and moves of the other member of the dyad. In addition to testing the hypothesis given, experimental conditions will be introduced to influence the subject to consider the possibilities of retaliation by the other player and to suggest cooperative play for greater mutual gain.


Gary Evans

Date of Award

Summer 1963

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1963 Thomas C. Dreiling


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