We are programmed to believe two heads are better than one. But are two – or three or five – heads, really better than one ?
This week’s Neurotechnology Tip warns that employing more heads, doesn’t guarantee a better decision, and it can waste time and energy.
Deciding what is best
Researchers from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School set out to test whether more brains, really produced better decisions.
In the study they asked 252 people to guesstimate the answer to a series of demographic type questions. The person either answered the question individually or collaborated with another individual.
Once an initial answer had been given – the researchers then shared the perspectives of several other people and allowed participants to adjust their answer, carefully documenting the final decision.
To motivate participants to make the “right” decision, “right” decisions earned a nice little cash bonus of $ 30, but missing the mark saw the pot of cash dwindle. The extent of the loss was tied to how incorrect the answer was – for every percentage point they were out, they lost one dollar.
Collaborating doesn’t necessarily produce better decision
Two brains working together seemed to improve the odds of getting the answer right. But adding more brains, invariably failed to improve the outcome appreciably.
Part of the problem was when multiple brains reviewed the decision, discussions led to the answer being picked apart in such a way, that the final decision was inferior. Answers arrived at with multiple brains were often found wanting.
Group decisions don’t always add up
Anytime you have to get together and decide, it takes time. And since time is money, in a business environment at least, group decisions cost money as well.
The reality, a group of 10 people is not going to make a decision that is 10 times better. It might actually make a decision that is a couple of times worse.
If you’re going to collaborate, it seems two brains are usually better than one. But for each additional brain, the benefit is minor.
The quality of your life is the sum total of the decisions you make.
Make sure you’re getting input from as many brains as you can, but when it comes time to actually decide, go with one or two brains.
PS. Make sure too decide, decision paralysis kills many dreams !
The Cost of Collaboration: Why Joint Decision Making Exacerbates Rejection of Outside Information. Psychological Science (2012) Julia A. Minson and Jennifer S. Mueller.
To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..
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The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.
|Balance Eicosanoids||Rein in insulin||Dial down stress||Sleep !||Increase Vit D||Culivate microflora||Think champion|
Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below