“Madness of Crowds” or “Wisdom of Groups”? – Improvisations – MIT Sloan Management Review

Co-authored by MIT’s Thomas W. Malone, Alexander Pentland, and Nada Hashmi, along with Anita Williams Woolley of Carnegie-Mellon and Christopher F. Chabris of Union College, the Science story details two studies about how groups perform.

The researchers concluded that “group intelligence” correlates less with the intelligence of the individuals and more with the social sensitivity of group members, an equality in how conversation is handled, and even the proportion of females in the group.

A Boston Globe story last month, “Group IQ,” picked up on the Science report and added a few interesting details. “People have been studying group dynamics for decades, seeing crowds variously as sources of madness and wisdom,” writes the Globe’s Carolyn Y. Johnson. “[Senior author of the study] Malone and colleagues could not find an example in which people had asked the relatively simple question of whether groups had intelligence, the same way individual people do.”

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