Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Angelo Santi

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The primary purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of threat frequency and contingency on game-playing behaviour in a threat-vulnerable game. A second purpose was to determine the stability of these effects when strategies were alerted during the final 75 trials of the game. Threat was operationally defined as the use of a particular choice in a threat-vulnerable game. One hundred students enrolled in undergraduate courses at Wilfrid Laurier University played in one of nine programmed strategy conditions: all possible pairwise orderings of a passive, demanding contingent, and a demanding noncontingent strategy. The latter two strategies were yoked to one another and therefore different only with respect to the contingency of threat. The passive strategy different from the two demanding strategies in that the programmed opponent never used the available threat. Results indicated that both threat frequency and threat contingency had significant effects on the Column player’s behaviour. However, the effects of contingency were observed earlier in the interaction sequence. In addition, delayed strategy effects were only obtained for the contingency variable. Postexperimental questionnaire data revealed that, contrary to previous reports, attributions of incompetence and foolishness were not necessary conditions for an exploiter to take advantage of a passive opponent.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season