When Are Two Heads Better than One and Why?
Science 20 April 2012: Vol. 336 no. 6079 pp. 360-362
A recent study, using a perceptual task, indicated that two heads were better than one provided that the members could communicate freely, presumably sharing their confidence in their judgments. Capitalizing on recent work on subjective confidence, I replicated this effect in the absence of any dyadic interaction by selecting on each trial the decision of the more confident member of a virtual dyad. However, because subjective confidence monitors the consensuality rather than the accuracy of a decision, when most participants were in error, reliance on the more confident member yielded worse decisions than those of the better individual. Assuming that for each issue group decisions are dominated by the more confident member, these results help specify when groups will be more or less accurate than individuals.