Collective wisdom in polarized groups

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2022
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Bak-Coleman, Joseph B.
Tokita, Christopher K.
Morris, Dylan H.
Rubenstein, Daniel I.
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Collective Intelligence. Sage Publications. 2022, 1(1). eISSN 2633-9137. Available under: doi: 10.1177/26339137221104788
Zusammenfassung

The potential for groups to outperform the cognitive capabilities of even highly skilled individuals, known as the “wisdom of the crowd”, is crucial to the functioning of democratic institutions. In recent years, increasing polarization has led to concern about its effects on the accuracy of electorates, juries, courts, and congress. While there is empirical evidence of collective wisdom in partisan crowds, a general theory has remained elusive. Central to the challenge is the difficulty of disentangling the effect of limited interaction between opposing groups (homophily) from their tendency to hold opposing viewpoints (partisanship). To overcome this challenge, we develop an agent-based model of collective wisdom parameterized by the experimentally-measured behaviour of participants across the political spectrum. In doing so, we reveal that differences across the political spectrum in how individuals express and respond to knowledge interact with the structure of the network to either promote or undermine wisdom. We verify these findings experimentally and construct a more general theoretical framework. Finally, we provide evidence that incidental, context-specific differences across the political spectrum likely determine the impact of polarization. Overall, our results show that whether polarized groups benefit from collective wisdom is generally predictable but highly context-specific.

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570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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collective wisdom, polarization, wisdom of the crowds
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ISO 690BAK-COLEMAN, Joseph B., Christopher K. TOKITA, Dylan H. MORRIS, Daniel I. RUBENSTEIN, Iain D. COUZIN, 2022. Collective wisdom in polarized groups. In: Collective Intelligence. Sage Publications. 2022, 1(1). eISSN 2633-9137. Available under: doi: 10.1177/26339137221104788
BibTex
@article{BakColeman2022-09-13Colle-59093,
  year={2022},
  doi={10.1177/26339137221104788},
  title={Collective wisdom in polarized groups},
  number={1},
  volume={1},
  journal={Collective Intelligence},
  author={Bak-Coleman, Joseph B. and Tokita, Christopher K. and Morris, Dylan H. and Rubenstein, Daniel I. and Couzin, Iain D.}
}
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