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April 3, 2018

Media Object: Sip or Squirt

The Sip or Squirt Exhibit, aka Trust Fountain, investigates competition, cooperation, and social interaction.

Are you competitive? Do you like to negotiate? How do you make decisions about sharing, helping, and collaborating with others? And how do scientists study these kinds of social interactions?

Questions like these are at the heart of the Exploratorium’s Science of Sharing exhibition. We’ve designed exhibits and activities to let you experiment with social interactions, play with strategies for working with others, and learn about the scientific study of human behavior.

You’ll ponder whether to trust a friend with a water squirter at Sip or Squirt. (Will you give your friend a sip or a squirt?) You’ll work with others to manage a virtual ocean at Textfish. (How long will the fish population survive?) And at Freeloader, you’ll choose between acting in your own immediate interests and working for the good of the group. (Why not score as many points as you can regardless of what others do?)

But these experiences aren’t just about play. Many critical challenges we all face—issues like energy crises, international conflict, ecosystem collapse, and climate change—revolve around social perceptions, expectations, and interactions. Ultimately, Science of Sharing lets you reflect on the human element at the heart of some of the world’s most pressing problems.