The 'Betrayers’ Banquet' is a Psychological Dining Experiment

By: Katherine Pendrill - Jan 12, 2016
References: betrayersbanquet & shutupandsitdown
The Betrayers’ Banquet is a London-based installation that forces diners to engage in the prisoner's dilemma. The prisoner's dilemma is a canonical example of an economic theory that suggests that rational individuals do not always make rational decisions. This restaurant plays off of this theory by turning an immersive dining experience in a physiological experiment.

The Betrayers’ Banquet involves 48 diners and a 32-course dinner. Guests are seated randomly at the table, with fancy food served at the top end and unpalatable food served at the bottom end. Diners are then given the opportunity to change their fortune by exchanging tokens that can indicate either trust or betrayal. As the guests move around the table, they continuously engage in the prisoner's dilemma.

While it may sound unusual to turn a dinner into a physiological experiment, the experience ultimately gives diners an opportunity to participate in an interactive game, try different foods and socialize with everyone at the table. As a result, the event offers an immersive dining experience that is wholly unique.