There is a growing interest in social science for the study of cooperation and the adoption of different experimental methodologies based on game theory and network analysis has acted as a unifying language between diverse areas of study such as psychology, behavioral economics and anthropology.
Exposing community members to social dilemma situations in a laboratory has allowed us to better understand the structure and mechanisms behind cooperative behavior, and to measure the capacity for cooperation that these groups of people have in real life situations. In an exciting new initiative, as part of the FONDEF CA13I10339 project, we applied these methodologies to study sociability amongst school children and we developed a functional prototype of:
- A cooperation measuring instrument in the format of a videogame, playable on tablets.
- A report for educational staff, based on the information gathered by this instrument.
- A strong data base for researchers.
The creation of an attractive and didactic interface for interaction in a simulated social context produced a strong cognitive and emotional response in first grade students, which validated and strengthened the preventive value of our instrument in comparison to traditional instruments.
The discussion with teachers on the results presented in the report allowed us to establish, in a qualitative manner, the validity of the measurements on willingness to cooperate on an individual level, and a student’s position within the cooperation network of a classroom. The exploratory analysis also indicated a concomitant variation between cooperation on a group level in the group sampled, and satisfaction indexes on sociability amongst school children, given by multi-state traditional instruments.
These results confirm the fact that, regardless of a student’s socio-economic background, they are all familiar to digital interfaces and that this makes the implementation of digital instruments in experimental methodologies a feasible way to gather valuable information for the management of sociability amongst school children. In the scaling plan proposed during this phase, the implementation of this instrument will enrich and modulate the array of games in it, and it will also be able to be achieved by educational establishments in an independent manner, guided only by the training materials and implementation protocols.
Our alliance with the Educational Corporation of San Bernardo will allow this platform to increase its use and coverage by being incorporated to all the municipal schools of San Bernardo. This will also insert our project as part of a territorial management strategy for sociability in school children. By doing so, we are collecting essential feedback from teachers and educators who not only value this instrument for its diagnosis power, but also for its potential to become an intervention tool in the school community.