Footloose — Playing Chicken with Tractors

Two high school students decide to play a game of chicken on a dare. In this classic game, two contestants head straight for one another and the winner is the one who doesn’t bail or turn away. If both participants turn away then they both are deemed “chickens.” However, if both stay the course then they will crash into one another and possibly die.

Thanks to Austin Boyle for the clip!

Wanda Sykes — Being Tested

Wanda Sykes describes how she tests her husband when he doesn’t even know he’s being tested. She’s okay with a sink of dirty dishes one or two days, but if it continues for much longer than she’ll extract her revenge (later in the clip she talks about how all the fury comes out when they’re having sex). This tit-for-tat behavior where one party waits for the other one can turn into a situation where both parties are eating off of napkins and no one is cleaning anything.

Ron White — The Death Penalty

Ron White describes how his state is different than California and one of those ways is through the use of the death penalty. In other states, they may be trying to cut back on the use of the death penalty for heinous crimes, but Texas appears to be trying to put in an express lane. The death penalty, while controversial, is often used by states as a credible threat and a deterrence mechanism in order to reduce future crime.

TedEd: Hotelling Model

This animated clip illustrates the Hotelling Model well (even though they don’t mention it), but can also be used to introduce the idea of sequential moves.

The Princess Bride: Battle of Wits

The Battle of Wits scene may be one of the best game theory examples that students have scene before. It’s a great opportunity to introduce the concept of full information and knowing what the other one knows.

Golden Balls: Coordination

In the great British game show, Golden Balls, contestants must decide whether to cooperate with each other or be devious.  The dramatic outcome of the game (replicated here) is that one will steal and the other will be honest. This variant of the game has a unique twist to ensure cooperation.

Golden Balls: Split or Steal

In one of the greatest game theory game shows produced, contestants play a simultaneous-move game where they must decide whether to split or steal money from each other.

A Beautiful Mind: Ignoring the Blonde

The classic scene from A Beautiful Mind when Nash (Russell Crowe) and Co. are discussing governing dynamics. While not completely accurate, it does serve as a nice introduction to game theory.

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