What Makes a Group Smart?

Take a guess: which of the following factors will most contribute to a group’s `collective intelligence’ in solving difficult problems and performing tasks?

a) Group members’ cumulative individual I.Q. levels

b) The number of women in the group

c) The presence of a dominant group member

d) The freedom to make mistakes without suffering negative ramifications

If you chose `B’ (did you?), you were right!

Surprisingly, according to new research from Carnegie Melon University, “Having a bunch of smart people in a group doesn’t necessarily make the group smart”.

These researchers had 699 people placed in groups of two to five. The groups worked together on tasks that ranged from visual puzzles to negotiations, brainstorming, games and complex rule-based design assignments. What they did not at all expect to find is this: the more women in the group, the better the group’s `collective intelligence’.

The exact reasons for this result require further research. However, initial analysis of the data led the researchers to conclude that “higher social sensitivity exhibited by females,” contributed to these results.

There was another intriguing piece to this research… stay tuned!

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