Coalition formation on the gameboard


  • During this study, both authors were connected with the Institute of Social Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Prof. Mulder is still at Utrecht.


This study explored the different interpretations of the 4-3-2 power pattern (Caplow, 1956) in the standard pachisiboard situation, originated by Vinacke and Arkoff (1957).

The results show that A (=4) does not misperceive his power more than B (=3) or C (=2), as Kelley and Arrowood (1960) and Vinacke and Arkoff (1957) assumed. The results also did not fit the predictions of game theory (Shapley and Shubik, 1964). Gamson's (1964) explanation was not confirmed either.

The conspiracy hypothesis (Hoffman et al., 1954), which states that if the players perceive that they are comparable and one of the players is given an initial advantage, then the two other players will conspire against him, can explain the results of this study reasonably well.