Social dilemma

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“The health and vitality of relationships, groups, and the society at large is strongly challenged by social dilemmas, or conflicts between short-term self-interest and long-term collective interest. Pollution, depletion of natural resources, and intergroup conflict, can be characterized as examples of urgent social dilemmas.” (Introduction to social dilemmas, retrieved Aug 7, 2012.)

“Social dilemmas are situations in which collective interests are at odds with private interests.[1] Such situations arise when faced with prioritizing either short-term selfish interests or the long-term interests of a group, organization, or society. Many of the most challenging issues, from the interpersonal to the intergroup, are at their core social dilemmas. Conflicts arise when motives concerning the group are overcome by individual motives. When this happens, others will intervene to restore the balance of the group.” (Wikipedia, retrieved Aug 8 2012).

Social dilemmas also appear in various educational design that stress knowledge building and sharing, etc.


  • Social Dilemma. As of Aug 2012, the site is maintained by Prof. Dr. Paul van Lange (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Dr. Jeff Joireman (Washington State University Pullman, USA), Dave Hardisty (Columbia University, USA) and Prof. Dr. Eric van Dijk (Leiden University, The Netherlands), and supported by the Steering Committee of the International Conferences on Social Dilemmas.