Prisoner-s-dilemma meaning

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.
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In game theory, a situation in which, if each of the individuals involved chooses the most rational option for gaining his or her own ends, the least desirable outcome for all will necessarily result.
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Origin of prisoner-s-dilemma

  • 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
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition