University of Maryland psychology lecturer Dylan Selterman first started giving his students a mind boggling extra credit question on their final exams in 2008. So far, only one class has gotten the extra credit.
The question went viral after it was tweeted by University of Maryland junior Shahin Rafikian early this month, getting over 6,000 retweets by July 15.
WHAT KIND OF PROFESSOR DOES THIS pic.twitter.com/ACtQ0FCwRm
— shahanye (@shaunhin) July 1, 2015
According to the professor, the purpose of the question is to reinforce social psychology concepts like “tragedy of the commons” and “the prisoner’s dilemma.”
@SelterMosby what an amazing way to express the idealism of our society today. This experiment really exposes the truth behind the curtain
— Bekah (@Dreamy_G4L) July 11, 2015
“Some students lament the degree of selfishness amongst their peers, while other students (bravely, in my opinion) openly admit to selecting six points,” Selterman said.
I am that professor. https://t.co/5OIDw7ZXxX
— Dylan Selterman (@SelterMosby) July 9, 2015
“In the past two days, it has turned into a huge philosophical decision-making process among so many people,” Rafikian, who chose the two-point option, told the Baltimore Sun, adding that many of the responses he got told him to choose six points.
But it didn’t matter either way: More than 10% of students chose the higher option, leaving everyone without extra credit.