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People make wrong decisions in groups more than they would alone, according to a recent study.Groups have a tendency to make decisions based on the opinion of the person most confident in their answer, according to a study by Asher Koriat of the University of Haifa in Israel and published by in the journal Science. This means that an individual could disregard their own doubts and make a wrong call.
Koriat worked with groups of college students and asked them questions that involved choosing between two options, such as guessing the most populous city in a country, ScienceNews reports. The test subjects were likely to be led astray by someone who seemed confident in their answer, even if they frequently turned out to be wrong.
“One ought to be conservative in deciding whether to trust group decisions, because the price might be heavy if the issue is one for which people are predominantly incorrect,” Koriat writes in his report.
Groups are right more than individuals when a question concerns common knowledge rather than logic. But when analysis is required, people are easily led astray.
So instead of phoning a friend for an answer, you might be better off on your own.
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