Can 12 Strangers Find Each Other in Washington, D.C.,
Having Never Met and Without Any Clues Where to Look?
Will Two Teams Succeed in Losing 15 Pounds in Two Months?
Can math and science be used to predict whether people will lose weight or to see if complete strangers can find each other in the middle of a busy city, with no clues?
"Primetime" finds out in the third installment of "Primetime: Basic Instincts." Professor Barry Nalebuff of Yale University′s School of Management teaches game theory, which he describes as "the science of strategy; recognizing that the success of what you do depends on what other people do."
Working with Nalebuff, "Primetime" creates two real life games to test the intellectual theory. Jay Schadler reports on "Primetime: Basic Instincts" airing tonight (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
One scenario takes viewers on a race through Washington, D.C. to see if twelve strangers paired off can find each other without any clues or direction. While their journey begins with an expected route, the players stumble on unexpected obstacles along the way. Will they come together and find each other, proving that people tend to have common thought patterns in a given society?
Could game theory help create a sure fire way to lose weight? In the second scenario, there are two voluntary teams competing to see if each person can lose 15 pounds in two months. Each team has a different form of game theory. One side faces a choice: lose the weight or unveil a picture taken of them in a tiny bathing suit -- on a stadium jumbotron. The other team faces a more subtle pressure - try to do their part in losing the weight for the team to succeed.
Will the credible threat of exposure be enough to motivate one team to drop the most weight, or will the other team motivated more positively win?