PROBLEM: Important decisions are often reached when people collaborate. But can confidence in one’s teammates also backfire?
METHODOLOGY: University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School researchers Julia A. Minson and Jennifer S. Mueller asked 252 people to estimate nine numbers related to United States geography, demographics, and commerce, either individually or in pairs after a discussion. They were then offered the estimates of other individuals and pairs and allowed to revise their own, so the final estimates could come from the efforts of two to four people. The subjects also rated their confidence in their judgments.
RESULTS: People who worked with a partner were more confident in their estimates and significantly less willing to take outside advice. Had the pairs yielded to external input, their estimates would have been significantly more accurate.
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