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Predicting Survivor 6: A Theory of Success on SurvivorPage 2
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10. Luxury item shareability. A luxury item which can bring benefits to others as well as its owner (and some, such as Frisbees, can only bring benefits to the owner interacting with another unless the owner uses it only as a plate) can be figured to bring its owner brownie points with other players. The more an item can be utilized by others, the better its owner ought to do.
11. Leadership. Assuming that this increases chances of success (and real leaders lead without others knowing), those who engage in activities on or off the job requiring this ought to do better in the game.
12. Interactivity. The same applies here as for leadership, those who experiences feature situations where they must have much interaction with many types of others should do better in the game since they must live with others under appalling circumstances guaranteed to rankle everybody.
13. Learning. Those with more education ought to do better for two reasons, they probably have more useful knowledge and native intelligence than those that do not, but, perhaps more importantly, their willingness to pursue more education indicates a greater desire to learn and to be open to acquiring knowledge, a learning and adaptability trait theoretically valuable in the game.
(Since the above three concepts are all attitudes related to life experiences, for analytical purposes they may be best combined into a single indicator of game-playing abilities.)
14. Facial muscles. Some of my fellow RNO writers noted that in their evaluations of contestants, pictures of faces on the web site were worth a thousand words. One could argue that contestants, who no doubt must authorize to CBS which picture of them will be used for publicity, who pose with and release for public consumption smiles on their faces represent more relaxed, open, less-threatening individuals, all traits which ought to curry favor with fellow contestants and buy them more time on the show.
15. Covering clothes. In the same vein, players whose photos show more revealing, more garish clothing probably denote more open people less likely to raise suspicion and will be seen as friendlier and thus more acceptable by other players.
16. Wearing jewelry. Yet, the wearing of jewelry (earrings excluded) may be a sign that this person feels it necessary to obscure themselves with some distraction, or perhaps it denotes a lack of authenticity to which, presumably, other players will react negatively.
(Since the above three concepts are all attitudes related to personality, for analytical purposes they may be best combined into a single indicator of personality traits as revealed by appearance.)
Even if the last half of these indicators do not present obvious objective quantification, subjective estimations of these indicators surely can measure well the underlying concepts. The explanation attached to each of the concepts above should have outlined the theoretical relationship they share with game success. Together, they present my theory about playing the game, and I'm sticking to it.
Notice that these factors include only items known generally about the contestants before the installment starts. We can predict only through public information. Further, chance events cannot be modeled at all (such as Michael falling into the fire during S2), nor information discovered during the series. These items become relevant when we try to explain rather than predict.
Now having explained the concepts, how (in general) they are measured and related to winning and losing, the next article, coming Monday, will explain the testing procedure used to build a predictive model for Survivor success.
Jeffrey D. Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport where he teaches, among other things, classes in international politics, international organizations, and diplomatic history. He has published in the area of gaming simulations in international politics.
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