Dubner at the NYTimes Freakonomics Blog asks the following question to his readers given prisoner’s dilemma problem:
Pretend for a minute that you have done something to put yourself in jeopardy and are facing a real-life Prisoner’s Dilemma. Now pretend additionally that you get to choose your partner in the dilemma. There are three people to choose from. You cannot see or talk directly to the three people, but you are allowed to ask one question of each of the three people to help make your decision.
What is the one question you’d ask?
Apparently, selected winners will receive material rewards for their achievement. However, I am not sure how any question I asked would be useful. Given the scenario, my optimal strategy is to defect no matter what, thus, I would want to pick the most irrational (or trusting?) person of the three. At best, I would want some sort of question that frames their subsequent action as rational (despite it being ultimately irrational). Failing some sort of Jedi mind trick, I need to gauge my potential partner’s rationality – do I ask age, education, or other demographic information?
What question elicits the answer to the question: "do you play sub-optimal strategies?"