prisoner's dilemma

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Related to Prisoner dilemma: Nash equilibrium, game theory

prisoner's dilemma

n.
In game theory, a scenario in which two players can cooperate with or betray each other, with neither player knowing the strategy of the other, and the outcome for each player varying according to the combined outcome of both. It is used in various disciplines, such as economics, to model human interaction, and biology, to model altruism.

[From the common framing of the scenario as the story of two prisoners who are separately offered a plea bargain according to which the length of each prisoner's sentence depends on both his own decision to inform on the other and the other's decision to inform on him.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
GORDON BROWN'S PRISONER DILEMMA (The Wall Street Journal, New York)
In the customer policy area, the concept is that what is good for one customer (confessing in the prisoner dilemma) may be bad for the group.
In this study, pigeons played a series of prisoner dilemma games against a computer opponent using a tit-for-tat strategy.