Multimedia environmental decision-making simulation


A Hypercard-based computer simulation is described here that allows testing and projections about decision making in commons dilemmas. Although the program applies to many different types of value tradeoffs, it focuses on issues related to the harvesting (and overharvesting) of natural resources. In particular, it uses the Atlantic fisheries to look at conflicts between satisfying immediate needs and protecting long-term sustainability. The program’s calculations and projections are based on variables including fish stocks, replenishment rate, average household expenses, value per ton of fish, amount of fishing per year, number of competitors, harvesting strategy of competing decision makers, actual fish caught per year, yearly income, and the levels of harvesting that would maintain a sustainable level of the resource. The multimedia interface includes on-screen movies, moving graphs of results, still photos, cartoon animation, and audio instructions. This simulation program provides an engaging way of collecting data on decision making in social dilemmas and is also well suited to public/educational presentations.

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Correspondence to Craig Summers.

Additional information

The author would like to acknowledge important supporting funding provided by Employment and Immigration Canada-Summer Employment/Experience Development Program, the Laurentian University Research Fund, and the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, Northern Training Opportunities Program. Credit for much of the artistry of the graphics and HyperCard programming is due Trevor Deck, who worked as a programmer and research assistant on this program.

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Summers, C. Multimedia environmental decision-making simulation. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers 28, 598–602 (1996).

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  • Fish Stock
  • Social Dilemma
  • Fishing Industry
  • Macintosh Computer
  • Replenishment Rate