Saturday, January 08, 2011

Game of Talking in science

Isegora writes about a group performance study. The study investigated if group ability is "sum of its parts" or "more than sum of its parts". They both measured the individual IQs of the group members, and also looked at the interaction in the group. Group dynamics overwhelmed individual ability.

One result was that the whole group dynamic suffers if one asshole insists on blabbing and blabbing and blabbing in order to win the Game of Talking by big margin:

...neither the average intelligence of the group members nor the person with the greatest intelligence strongly predicted how well the group did.

Other tenets of group success also seemed to fall by the wayside: A group’s motivation, satisfaction, and unity were unimportant. Instead, the researchers found that when a group had a high level of collective intelligence, the members tended to score well on a test that measured how good they were at reading other people’s emotions. They also found that groups with overbearing leaders who were reluctant to cede the floor and let the others talk did worse than those in which participation was better distributed and people took turns speaking. And they also found that the proportion of women in the group was a predictor of collective intelligence — a factor they believe was likely influenced by women’s generally superior social sensitivity.

Hat tip: Aretae

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