Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Beg to Differ

Tyler Cowen links to a study that concludes that diversity on a board or committee is a poor predictor of opinion diversity expressed.

A robust finding is that a subject’s lack of ability predicts both a true propensity to accept others’ judgment (informational social influence) and a propensity to agree despite private doubt (normative social influence). Thus, as an antidote to conformity in our experiments, high individual ability seems more effective than group diversity.

- See more at:

I have no knowledge or opinion of the design or merits of the study, but it does have a certain plausibility - the guy who has always been the smartest kid in the room has more confidence in his opinion than the slower students. On the other hand, those smartest kids on the block are probably more likely to make the mistakes of hubris.