Do You Trust Your Friends?

[VIDEO★] Do You Trust Your Friends?

Watch the following video before the lesson, and read the script out loud with the Cambly tutor during the lesson.

0:01    Hey! It’s Yessica. Would you sell out your friends to make a quick buck? Are we hard-wired to be selfish? I don’t know. Let’s hit the streets and find out.

0:16    [Voiceover] You and another person have just been caught after a recent crime spree. The detectives on the case have put you each in a room for interrogation. The detectives give you two options: You can snitch on your partner, giving them three years in prison, but you go scot-free, or you can stay quiet and spend one year in the slammer. Your partner in the other interrogation room is given the same two options with the same outcomes. If you both snitch on one another, you both get two years, since you cooperated with the cops, yet are both still guilty of the crime.

0:46     This leaves you with four possible outcomes. If you both stay quiet, everyone benefits from spending the least amount of time combined in prison. But, do you trust your partner to make the same selfless decision?

0:57     We went to the street to see how people would react, but instead of prison time, we offered them cold, hard cash. So what would you do? Snitch or stay quiet?

1:07     My name’s Yessica. What’s yours? – Catherine.

1:08     Hi Catherine. – Susan.

1:10     Hi Susan. Ok, how do you guys know each other? – From work.

1:13     Cool. Do you guys like each other?

1:14     Yeah. – Yeah.

1:15     Yeah? You guys are decent, cool.

1:17     So you guys are brothers, right? – Correct.

1:20     Do you think Robbie’s a good person?

1:22     Ok, do you think Stephanie over here’s a good person? – I love her!

1:25     We‘re gonna play a game, you guys ready? – Yup.

1:27     We‘re gonna pretend you guys did something, you guys stole something, ok? And you guys are both being interrogated. If one of you snitches and the other one doesn’t, one of you gets three dollars. But if you both snitch, you both only get one dollar. But if no one snitches, you both get two dollars. Does that make sense to you guys? – Ok.

1:47     I need you guys to stand back to back. Write down what you’re gonna do. If you snitch on your brother or if you don’t. One, two, three, go. – In three, you guys are gonna show each other. One, two, three.

2:07     Never! – (both laugh) Yay!

2:12     All right. You guys are good brothers. Good job.

2:16     So we’re not gonna rat on each other. – Good.

2:18     [Voiceover] The people on the street were all being very nice. So we decided to raise the stakes to see if that would change anything.

2:24     How do you guys know each other?

2:26     We‘re dating. – We’re dating.

2:27     Ooh, fun. How long have you guys been dating?

2:29     A few days. – A few days. – A few days? Cool.

2:31     A long time. – Pretty dope.

2:35     Are you gonna take the money and run? And then, on the count of three, show each other. One, two, three. – (both laugh) – Yeah! – Wooo!

2:50     Wait, does this mean we get money?

2:52     [Voiceover] Even with higher stakes, most of the contestants preferred to go with the prize that benefits the group. – Mutually advantageous.

2:58     Yes, mutually advantageous. – And we’ve know each other a long time, we went to school together.

3:00     How long have you guys known each other? – Like three years?

3:02     Three years. – Ok. – Yeah. – Yeah.

3:04     So you guys have been friends for awhile. – Right. So, you know… – Cool.

3:08     We’re bam. – So yeah.

3:09     [Voiceover] So far, everyone who’s played knew each other beforehand. Let’s see what happens when we grab two complete strangers.

3:15     Bobby. – Hi, Bobby.

3:16     Aermome.Aer— wow. – Wow!

3:20     Ok, perfect. And here’s your pen. And on the count of three, I want you to write on the board whether you would snitch on the random person you just met. Ok, so in the count of three, I want you to show the camera. One, two, three.

3:37     I’m ashamed! – And now, show each other.

3:42     Perfect! We’re both snitches.

3:44     You guys would both snitch? – Yeah. – Yeah.

3:46     I thought about it.. – Yeah.

3:48     And I don’t know him, and he committed a crime, so… – Yeah. I wanna protect my own life.

3:52     It‘s just not that… I mean– – Emotional.

3:56     Yeah. – Yeah. I don’t have that emotional connection to you. – There you go.

3:58     [Voiceover] So why were people more likely to cooperate with people
that they knew? I’m not a psychologist, but it could be because humans are social beings. We tend to cooperate when we believe the payoff is not worth the potential risk. It’s possible that we view the risk as higher when playing against someone we know because there’s a chance of it hurting our relationship. But what if the prize was a hundred? Two thousand? Or six million dollars? How much money would it take to sell out your friends?

4:23     I love him for fifteen, I love him for twenty-five, – I love this guy too much. – Twenty?

4:26     No! – No, not twenty either! – We know each other too well. – Hundred?

4:29     Ooh, a hundred, I dunno… – (laughs)1Wow! What?!

4:32     I dunno, a hundred, that’s ten times what I won today, sir.

4:36     It‘s here! It’s here, it’s here! –  (all) It’s here! – It’s here. – It’s here.

4:41     Get it! – Get it! – There! – There!

4:44     I think they got it. Get it! – Yeah! – Yeah, you get it. – It’s here!

Words: 950


To Print (KR only): 151208 Do You Trust Your Friends


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Describe the concept of the prisoner’s dilemma in your own words.
  3. Do you think we are hard-wired to be selfish? Why or why not? Explain your thoughts with examples.
  4. How much would it take for someone to sell out their best friends? A couple millions dollars? A billion?
  5. Is there someone that you would never sell out not even for your own life?


What do the following expressions mean? Make a sentence using each expression, and check with the tutor if you are using it in a correct way. Extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Sell out
  • make a quick buck
  • Hard-wired
  • Hit the streets
  • Snitch on
  • Go scot-free
  • Rat on someone
  • Raise the stakes

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