When guessing the height of a man or estimating how many marbles fill a jar, the many seem to be smarter than the few. These collective features of intelligence have been dubbed “the wisdom of crowds,” but exactly how many people make a crowd wise?
Sometimes it seems the more people are involved in decision making process the wiser is the outcome. New study by Santa Fe Institute Professor Mirta Galesic and her colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin suggests that larger crowds do not always produce wiser decisions. In fact, when it comes to qualitative decisions such as “which candidate will win the election” or “which diagnosis fits the patient’s symptoms,” moderately-sized “crowds,” around five to seven randomly selected members, are likely to outplay larger ones.
- Mirta Galesic, Daniel Barkoczi, Konstantinos Katsikopoulos (2016). Smaller Crowds Outperform Larger Crowds and Individuals in Realistic Task Conditions. Decision.