Nice Guys Finish First!

After the Fowler interview, we have set our sights on some other heavyweights in the field of Kindness. One that is on the top of our list is Martin Nowak, co-author, with David Rand, of a study that proves that NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST! This is one of my favorite themes of course, I can’t tell you how many times in the course of our interviews that I have heard people say the opposite. This is for them:

Screaming sports coaches and cutthroat tycoons have it wrong: Nice guys do finish first, a new study suggests.
The Harvard University study involved 100 Boston-area college students playing the same game over and over — a punishment-heavy version of the classic one-on-one brinksmanship game of prisoner’s dilemma. The research appears in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature.

Common game theory has held that punishment makes two equals cooperate. But when people compete in repeated games,punishment fails to deliver, said study author Martin Nowak. He is director of the evolutionary dynamics lab at Harvard where the study was conducted.

“On the individual level, we find that those who use punishments are the losers,” Nowak said his experiments found. Those who escalate the conflict very often wound up doomed.


Via USA Today