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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wisdom of Crowds: Post #2--Independence

Independence: We’re all aware of peer pressure. In research, it’s called social proof and has been studied for many years. Whether the experiments were people pointing at the sky (the more people pointing at the sky, the more people stopped and looked up) or whether it’s a rush to buy an iPod because everyone around you is, this gets to the heart of the phenomenon of independence. While groups, especially cascading groups (based on early adopters convincing others to come along for the ride), who move toward iPods or Starbucks often make decent decisions, they’d make far better ones if they decided things as a group—but independently! Often groups make decisions sequentially. Think about how what you say in a group might depend on what your colleague or boss might say and how it could easily influence you. What if you collected data simultaneously and anonymously?

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