Encourage the trainees debrief themselves.
1) To prepare for the game, generate 20 questions about the base activity.
2) Organize the participants into teams of four to seven.
3) Explain that you are going to ask a series of questions. Each participant should think of the answer—without blurting it out.
4) Each participant now turns to the player on his or her left and whispers a prediction of how the player on the right will respond.
5) Participants take turns giving their personal responses. If a response matches the prediction, the predictor scores one point.
6) The game continues in this fashion with you asking one question at a time.
A copy of 20 questions
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Here are the 20 questions used for debriefing a group that participated in Dollar Auction:
1. What word best describes your feelings during the auction?
2. What word best describes the probable feeling of the second-highest bidder at the conclusion of the auction?
3. What encouraged some people to participate in the initial bidding?
4. Why did some participants not bid at all?
5. Why did participants continue to bid beyond a dollar?
6. Do you agree that eventually all bidding will be restricted to just two participants?
7. Do you agree the best way to enjoy this game is to get the mischief started and then drop out?
8. Do you agree that men tend to bid more aggressively than women?
9. What if we auctioned off $500 instead of just $1? How would that have changed the participants' behaviors?
10. What if the profits from this auction were contributed to some charity? How would that have changed the participants' behaviors?
11. What if we auctioned off some merchandise (such as a book) instead of money? How would that have changed the participants' behaviors?
12. What if all bidders (instead of just the top two) were required to pay the amount they bid? How would that have changed the participants' behaviors?
13. What if you could skip increments during the bidding? How would that have changed the participants' behaviors?
14. What real-life behaviors does this activity simulate?
15. What is a real-world equivalent of bidding more than a dollar for a dollar?
16. If we conducted another auction under the same rules, how would you behave differently?
17. What advice would you give to somebody who does not know how this auction usually ends up?
18. This activity illustrates people throwing good money after bad. What real-world examples can you give of this type of behavior?
19. This activity also illustrates the principle of escalation in which one person's action decreases his or her pain and increases the other person's pain—and sets up a vicious cycle. What real-world examples of escalations can you think of?
20. What changes would you make in Dollar Auction to make it more interesting?