Putting A Face With A Name Makes It A Cooperative Effort

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There has been more than one study that shows that actually knowing a person could increase the level of cooperation you can expect in a project. A major study was put together by the Science Advances journal that was entitled the “prisoner’s dilemma.”

The game study began with two criminals who were kept in completely different jail cells. Each prisoner was informed that if either of them told on the other one, they would receive a reward of a lower sentence. However, if they both remained neutral and didn’t tell on each other, they would both get to get off free of charge. Cooperation by working together was rewarded and encouraged.

If one decides to tell on the other and the other one does not, the one who stays quiet will get a higher sentence. This translated to show that it’s not always good to trust someone.

The researchers in Japan decided to create a type of game with 154 students in China at the university in Yunnan. Each player received points that would later be traded in for real money based on their cooperation, or the level of self-interest they had for themselves. Each player could also take away another players point for being uncooperative and use their own points to remove four points from another player.

While playing this game, some of the students had no idea who they were playing with, while in other games the players knew the other players by name. Because all of the players went to the same school, when they learned of their names they were able to recognize their faces as they played with them.

One of the results showed that when the players did not know each other they only cooperated about 25 percent or less. But if they knew the names of the other participants, the cooperation levels rose to between 50 to 75 percent.

When the players were working anonymously things began to become more anti-social, whereas when the participants knew each other they were more receptive to work things out. Further studies showed that even people who met each other only once, and usually briefly, were more apt to remain friendly and cooperate with these people than those they did not now at all.

If you are serious about remembering people’s names, there are some quick and easy tricks that can help you definitely put a face to the name in the future.


Make sure to repeat someone’s name when you first meet them

When you first meet a person, this is your chance to repeat their name in an effort to remember it in the future. You can use their name right away or even when they leave: “It was really nice meeting you Mark. I hope I get to see you again.” If someone has an unusual name you can spend a few minutes asking them questions about it – where are you from, is this a family name, do you have a nickname?

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