In a windowless room on the UC Berkeley campus, two undergrads play Monopoly. One of them, a chubby guy in glasses named T-Shirt, is rich. He gets $2,000 in the bank to start and earns $200 each time he passes Go.
Paul Piff studies empathy gaps between different social class groups, using a rigged version of Monopoly as his tool. He describes how the resulting game illustrates how long-term inequality cannot be eliminated with equal opportunity alone.
The Baseball Glove
From All-Stars playing in the major leagues to young players taking their first at bat, a good baseball glove is the most important piece of equipment for any player. Gloves are a quintessential part of material culture and offer students a unique opportunity to examine how the production of consumer goods can serve as the center of a web of cultural practices.
The baseball glove is one of the most iconic pieces of equipment in American sports and has a rich history that goes back to the 1860s. Historians note that baseball gloves first made their appearance in the game around this time and became commonplace by the 1880s. Prior to the introduction of these mitts, players tended to use their natural hand-grip with very little padding or protection. The first known recorded use of a glove is that of a player named Doug Allison who wore a glove while playing catcher in 1870 due to an injured hand.
Social psychologist Paul Piff, an expert on the “empathy gap” between upper and lower class individuals, ran a series of experiments using rigged Monopoly games to show how privilege or status changes how we interact with other people. Watch this TED Talk video where he talks about his research, including the results of an experiment that gave some players clear advantages (more money, mobility, and access to resources) while others were given rules that impaired them. Piff found that these advantaged players exhibited more abrasive behavior and less empathy towards their fellow players.
If you’re the car in the Monopoly game, you’re deliberate and measured in your actions. You’re not impulsive like the baseball glove or cannon, but you also don’t let anyone take your territory without a fight. You make decisions after careful thought and will take your time to reach your goals.
Collusion is a serious offense in Monopoly and can ruin the fun for everyone involved. It involves sharing information between players or manipulating auctions to acquire properties at a fraction of their true value. While some players see collusion as a good strategy to increase their chances of winning, it can be illegal and ruin the competitive nature of the game.
In a study conducted by UC Berkeley psychology professor Paul Piff, participants played a “rigged” Monopoly game to learn about the social effects of privilege and status. In the experiment, a coin flip randomly assigned one participant in each pair to be the rich player. This player received twice the starting amount of money, collected double the salary when they passed go, and rolled two dice instead of just one when they moved around the board. Piff used hidden cameras to observe the pairs play for 15 minutes.
The results of the experiment were eye-opening. Piff found that the rich players were far more likely to collude with their opponents than the poor players. This suggests that wealth actually changes a person’s ability to be ethical and compassionate.
Another interesting finding from the study was that the rich players were more willing to pay rent while they were in jail than the poor players. This suggests that they were more motivated to get out of jail quickly and avoid the cost of property damage.
Overall, the study found that if you’re playing Monopoly with people who don’t share your values or have the same goals as you, it’s likely that they’ll try to cheat in order to win. However, if you’re aware of the different ways that players can collude and how to spot it, you can avoid these negative consequences and have a more enjoyable experience for all players involved.
The Chance cards
The board game Monopoly is a great way to teach kids about money and real estate. However, it’s not without its controversy. In fact, it’s fairly common for people to get into fights while playing the game! The reason? The game is so prone to chance that it’s easy for some players to feel like they’re being screwed over. This is why it’s so important to play fair and stay out of collusion!
The first element of chance is the roll of the dice. Each turn, a player rolls two six-sided dice. There are 36 possible combinations, but only 11 of them can move a player forward. “You are more likely to land on a 7 than a 2,” Falcone explains, and this is why it’s so difficult for many players to win the game.
Another element of chance is the Community Chest and Chance cards, which are drawn when a player lands on a specified space. These cards typically provide instructions for the player to do something specific, such as collect money from other players or pay money to the bank. Some cards even involve jail, which is a common place for players to end up in the later stages of the game, as rents are likely high everywhere else on the board.
Lastly, a player’s luck can also be determined by the properties they purchase and develop. The more a player invests in the orange and red properties, for example, the more they’ll be able to charge for rent fees later on. However, many players make the mistake of turning their noses up at these smaller properties. This can be a costly mistake!
The rules of Monopoly require that if a property has no owner, it must be auctioned. This ensures that all players have an equal opportunity to win the game, and it’s also a great way to teach children about the importance of fair competition. It’s also crucial to avoid collusion during the game, as this can ruin the enjoyment of the experience for everyone involved. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid collusion during Monopoly, including not sharing information with other players and not making secret deals.