Social influences kill the wisdom of the crowd

Social influences kill the wisdom of the crowd

By John Timmer | Ars Technica, Published May 17, 2011 2:09 PM

The “wisdom of the crowd” has become a bit of a pop cliché, but it’s backed up by real-world evidence. When groups of people are asked to provide estimates of obscure information, the median value of their answers will often be remarkably close to the right one, even though many of their answers are laughably wrong. But crowds rarely act in the absence of social influences, and some researchers in Zurich have now shown that providing individuals information about what their fellow crowd-members are thinking is enough to wipe out the crowd’s wisdom. …

For full text of the article via Social influences kill the wisdom of the crowd.

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