Group Think Enhancement

In this increasing complex world, group collaborations have become almost a necessity for many activies.  In a paper published in Science (2010), Anita Williams Woolley and her pals report two discoveries:

  • There is something called “collective intelligence,” or group IQ (They studied groups sized 3-5.).
  • That collective intelligence is only weakly correlated to:  (1) the average IQ of the members and (2) the IQ of a single highly intelligent member.

So what is it correlated to?

  • Average social sensitivity of group members
  • Equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking
  • Proportion of females in the group (They are more socially sensative than men.)

Woolley concludes her paper with the following remark:  ” . . . it would seem to be much easier to raise the intelligence of a group than an individual.”  The author seems to suggest that increasing the information-sharing capabilities of group members using “electronic collaborative tools” could improve group intelligence.

Adapted from Philippe Verdoux’s “Group Intelligence, Enhancement, and Extended Minds,” at:

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