Santa's Secret

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Category: Philosophy and Psychology

Date Submitted: 09/22/2012 02:08 PM

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Santa’s Secret

Beata Balla

Florida Institute of Technology


Secret Santa is a game that many people played growing up and some still play among friends, family, and in the workplace. This paper explains the secret Santa game and more importantly reveals true personalities, values, and behaviors of others in a group like setting. The purpose of this game is to essentially discover how far people will go to find out whom the secret Santa is in each group and how beneficial or worthy the rewards are for those individuals who go to great lengths to either manipulate each other or stay true to other team members. Individual personality differences are highlighted and explained as the game unfolds and teams are evaluated for their ability to stay faithful to their team members.

Santa’s Secret

Purpose of the Secret Santa Game

I work in a hospital where we have holiday gatherings and parties every year. Nurses and other healthcare professionals traditionally take part in the secret Santa game and buy gifts for each other. Because the holidays are quickly approaching, I decided to devise a game based on the prisoner’s dilemma called Santa’s secret. There are four individuals in each team with a total of three teams, one for each shift-morning, evening, and night shift. One person from each team is the designated “secret Santa” in which their role is to think of a gift to buy for the other team. The members of a team all know who their own secret Santa is but do not know who the secret Santa is on other teams. My manager will be the outsider and will decide who the secret Santa will be for each team and later evaluate the teams. I will give each team rules that they have to abide by and will also be assigning rewards/punishments based on the final outcomes of the game. Each team will have exactly one week to find out who the secret Santa is on other teams.

Rewards and Punishments

There are three possible rewards and two possible punishments for the...