A partial etymology of the phrase double dog dare. Also mentioned is an even more fearsome possibility, the "black dog dare." I suspect this to be a British thing--any Americans ever heard of this variant?
This article notwithstanding, I still feel there is a real lack of research in this important area. I mean, really, the phrase is revolutionary. It defines a fundamental unit for measuring risk: the dog. Accepting a "single dog dare" presumably means that you are knowingly taking on an amount of risk equal to one dog. Gone are the days of blind risk-taking; you now have all the tools at your disposal to evaluate all possible outcomes and expected values in order to make an educated decision. Here's a concrete example.
One day on the playground Billy is dared by a group of boys to pee on the school building while the teachers aren't watching. He is initially hesitant. Things soon escalate however to the double dog dare level, forcing the issue. He takes out pen and paper and writes:
c0 = cost of ridicule for not peeing on the building (in units of dog)
c1 = cost of getting in trouble if i am caught peeing (in units of dog)
p = probability i will successfully pee and not get caught
v = 2p - (1-p)c1
Plugging in appropriate values for c0, c1, and p, Billy finds that v < -c0--in other words, that in taking the challenge he should expect "even more negative dogs" than if he didn't--and so he declines. He then receives a wedgie which tears his underwear down the back. However, he merely smiles at this because it was already fully taken into account by his estimate of c0. He turns to the masked man wearing an orange and brown spandex suit with pointy ears standing beside him.
"Thanks, Double Dog Man."
"No problem, Billy. You the man now, dog."Posted by Alan at May 14, 2006 08:47 PM