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The Science of Sharing

The Science of Sharing

Investigating 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 Trust Fountain. (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. 

Science of Sharing: Behind the Scenes

Science of Sharing

Why do you do what you do? 

Exploratorium Press Office

The Museum of Life and Science, Durham, North Carolina
Dialogue Social Enterprise, Hamburg, Germany
The Heroic Imagination Project, San Francisco
ABC7, official media partner

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1114781. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.