A game of human trust

The post is 515 words and about 3 minutes to quickly take a look

Worker Manager
Base 2000 2500
Bonus 1000/0
Extra 5 * Unused time 20 * Worker unit of output

Today I participated an interesting accounting research. Here is the rule: there is a team of one worker and one manager. I am randomly assigned as a worker to conduct a task for 90 seconds four times (super annoying but not important here) and get a base of 2000 each time. I could choose to use all 90 seconds or finish the task early, with 5 extra per second. The manager will get a base 2500, know every output, and decide to give me a bonus of 1000 or 0.


You think it’s just about hard work?

Actually, it’s a trust game between me and manager.


In 1st round:

I put all my effort up to 30 and get 2000 + manager’s 1000 reward.


In 2nd round:

Wait, since the base for me is the same, I could just work less and save some extra

I finished 10 seconds earlier and only 24 output, way less than the first round.

But I did not realize that the manager was unhappy and gave me 0 bonus.


That when it hits me.

The extra I earned by saving time is trivial compared to manager’s decision. What I need to do is to gain manager’s trust.


In 3rd round:

I returned to the full concentration as in the 1st round. However, I was so focused on finishing more that I became clumsy, finished similar amount like the 2nd round while also ran out of time.

To my surprise, the manager seems to motivate me and gave me 1000 this time.


Now I knew that my profits fully depend on the manager’s mind.

I could not be lazy – that will lose manager’ trust; I could also work not that hard – just remain average and I will still get the expected 1000 with manager’s trust.


In 4th round:

I finished with similar output as in 2nd and 3rd round and saved several seconds.

Guess what?
Still got the 1000 bonus.

Extra task

What’s makes the game more interesting is the extra two tasks. As a worker, I have a choice to do for my manager or save the time for myself gain. Every unit I did will times 20 as manger’s extra revenue.

The trust!

I feel obliged to do some for my unknown empathic boss as he or she already gave me a total 3000 extra. Not to mention some guilty about my 4th round without full devotion.

So I conducted 17 at each task and of course, left several seconds for myself.


The reason I write this little story is through this research participation, I found out how complex our humans are. Hardworking, intelligent but unpredictable – as the manager gave me bonus and cunning – as I tried to leave my manager a “great” impression.

Nevertheless, we humans are also so unique that no matter what, we are born in kindness.  The manager should give me 0 in my 3rd  as I did not meet his expectation – but he still gave me 1000. I could just finish the task immediately during the two extra tasks as each extra output will hurt my interests – but I still conducted the task for my manager.

In-born kindness still remains even in this small hand-dirty business world.

Interesting humans:)







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A 20-year-old ENFP looking for likely-minded people

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