Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 19:12 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Late last year, president Obama signed a law that makes it possible to indefinitely detain terrorist suspects without any form of trial or due process. Peaceful protesters in Occupy movements all over the world have been labelled as terrorists by the authorities. Initiatives like SOPA promote diligent monitoring of communication channels. Thirty years ago, when Richard Stallman launched the GNU project, and during the three decades that followed, his sometimes extreme views and peculiar antics were ridiculed and disregarded as paranoia - but here we are, 2012, and his once paranoid what-ifs have become reality.
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Thanks for the links, I originally interpreted "salary" in your description to mean real world job salary, but I see that it means reward for completing a task within the experiment (it would be interesting to check for correlations with real world salaries also).

Unfortunately it's hard to tell (from the basic experiment given) whether the reward actually makes people perform worse, or whether the reward is merely distracting them. It may be that the experiment has more to prove about how humans perform under stress than how they perform with rewards. I'd like to see a few other variants:

1. Tell the subjects that after the test, they'll get to roll a dice to collect $ afterwards regardless of their performance on the test. This may indicate whether the subjects are preoccupied about the money such that it affects their performance, even though the performance has no bearing on the money.

2. Tell the subjects that they'll get paid regardless of the outcome. Who knows if this might affect performance as well?

3. Tell the subjects that they'll be electrocuted (or some other negative consequence) after the experiment if they don't perform well enough.

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