In October 2010, Science Magazine published an article on a research study conducted by researches from Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Union College in New York that showed that the collective intelligence of groups was significantly higher than the sum of the individual intelligence levels of each group member. In other words 1 + 1 + 1 = 5, not 3. The study divided 699 people into random groups of 2 to 5 and gave them a wide array of challenging tests. The researchers found that the group’s average IQ (based on individual IQ tests taken by the group members) had no correlation with the group’s collective output, even if a group had an individual with an exceptionally high IQ. They also found three group dynamics that correlated with successful output:
- Social Sensitivity in the Groups- the more people in a group asked questions of each other, listened to each other, and were empathetic to each other’s emotions, the higher their collective intelligence.
- Turn Taking- the more people in a group took turns speaking, resisted dominating a conversation, and asked each other to contribute, the higher the collective intelligence.
- Female Members- simply put, the more women there were in any group, the more intelligent the group. The researchers noted that in individual social sensitivity tests, women scored higher than men. They believed that the presence of women raised the likelihood of the group being more socially sensitive and led to more turn taking in the group, thereby raising the probability of higher intellectual output.