Now this is interesting

A study out of Carnegie-Mellon University measures the intelligence of groups:

“Put all the world’s smartest minds together in a room and just imagine what might happen. Well, not much, it seems.

Collective intelligence is not the sum of the intelligence of individual group members, research shows. Rather, group intelligence requires socially sensitive people who take turns speaking and, usually, are women….

Neither the average nor maximum intelligence scores of members of the three-person groups in the study predict the ability of the group to achieve.

Neither did other factors that might be expected to predict group performance, such as group cohesion, motivation and satisfaction, said the study leader, Anita Woolley from Carnegie Mellon University….

“Groups where a few people dominated the conversation were less collectively intelligent,” Dr Woolley said.”


13 responses to this post.

  1. Hmmmm. Is that how we can have a brilliant President who is doomed by the company he keeps!?


  2. Somebody once said that the IQ of a group equals the lowest IQ of any member of the group divided by the number of people in the group. 😉

    I definitely agree that groups with a couple of domineering individuals will, on average, be dumber than groups where people take turns. As to whether women are better, on average, at taking turns—well, I’ll leave that to statisticians, but I’ve experienced plenty of tedious loudmouths of both genders. 🙂


    • Yes, it’s a bit too simplistic to break it down by gender.
      (As Robbie points out below)
      I’ve heard plenty of reports on faculty meetings from Tom that show that being silenced is not limited to women, and I spent enough time hanging around at Sair’s ballet to not necessarily have the warm fuzzies about the idea of women running things.


  3. Yep.
    So true.
    Seen it in action.

    And in the absence of women some men do the same kind of thing. But other men call them names for it. I’ve seen that in action, too.

    Love this!


  4. I have first hand knowledge of this… LOL


  5. Ooh, just found out what the “Like” button does! And this post is well worth a good liking. 🙂


  6. I think we’ve all been stuck in the room watching this one at work.
    Another of those instant karma situations: Gee, if I could be heard, I could really add something to this discussion, but since this is a one-man – or one group – show, I guess they’ll just run it into the ground on their own.
    I have problems with getting passive-aggressive, but sometimes there isn’t anywhere else to go in a group filled with aggressive-aggressive types.
    Sometimes you can battle it out, but sometimes people are still living in high school in their heads, and if they don’t see you as A-list types, then you just don’t have a voice.


      There’s only one way to win a war… shout, shout and shout some more!

      You don’t think then, that inspired leadership and tactical ability have anything to do with it?

      No, it’s all down to shouting!


  7. Posted by Boston Margy on October 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Told ya!


  8. Working in academia I’ve watched this up close and personal. Meetings where the median IQ is over 120 but nothing can be accomplished. Put 3 half-smart secretaries together and we’ll solve it in half an hour.


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