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Collective Intelligence in Human Groups

06.28.2013
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Dr. Anita Williams Woolley, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior & Theory presented to alumni at Reunion 2013.

Most of us are familiar with the idea of "general intelligence" in individuals, but no one has systematically examined whether a similar kind of "collective intelligence" exists for groups of people. In two studies with 192 groups, we find converging evidence of a general collective intelligence factor that explains a group's performance on a wide variety of tasks. This "c factor" is not strongly correlated with the average or maximum individual intelligence of group members, but is correlated with the level of social perceptiveness of group members, the equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking, and the proportion of females in the group. Ongoing research explores the relationships among collective intelligence, diversity, and learning as well as tools for enhancing collective intelligence.

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