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When does diversity trump ability (and vice versa) in group decision making? a simulation study

When does diversity trump ability (and vice versa) in group decision making? a simulation study
When does diversity trump ability (and vice versa) in group decision making? a simulation study

It is often unclear which factor plays a more critical role in determining a group's performance: the diversity among members of the group or their individual abilities. In this study, we addressed this "diversity vs. ability" issue in a decision-making task. We conducted three simulation studies in which we manipulated agents' individual ability (or accuracy, in the context of our investigation) and group diversity by varying (1) the heuristics agents used to search task-relevant information (i.e., cues); (2) the size of their groups; (3) how much they had learned about a good cue search order; and (4) the magnitude of errors in the information they searched. In each study, we found that a manipulation reducing agents' individual accuracy simultaneously increased their group's diversity, leading to a conflict between the two. These conflicts enabled us to identify certain conditions under which diversity trumps individual accuracy, and vice versa. Specifically, we found that individual accuracy is more important in task environments in which cues differ greatly in the quality of their information, and diversity matters more when such differences are relatively small. Changing the size of a group and the amount of learning by an agent had a limited impact on this general effect of task environment. Furthermore, we found that a group achieves its highest accuracy when there is an intermediate amount of errors in the cue information, regardless of the environment and the heuristic used, an effect that we believe has not been previously reported and warrants further investigation.

1932-6203
Luan, Shenghua
f8304c69-bccb-4b70-ab5e-7bac817dac9c
Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V.
b97c23d9-8b24-4225-8da4-be7ac2a14fba
Reimer, Torsten
c1a99c85-455f-4625-81cf-8462431b326a
Luan, Shenghua
f8304c69-bccb-4b70-ab5e-7bac817dac9c
Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V.
b97c23d9-8b24-4225-8da4-be7ac2a14fba
Reimer, Torsten
c1a99c85-455f-4625-81cf-8462431b326a

Luan, Shenghua, Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V. and Reimer, Torsten (2012) When does diversity trump ability (and vice versa) in group decision making? a simulation study. PLoS ONE, 7 (2), [e31043]. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031043).

Record type: Article

Abstract

It is often unclear which factor plays a more critical role in determining a group's performance: the diversity among members of the group or their individual abilities. In this study, we addressed this "diversity vs. ability" issue in a decision-making task. We conducted three simulation studies in which we manipulated agents' individual ability (or accuracy, in the context of our investigation) and group diversity by varying (1) the heuristics agents used to search task-relevant information (i.e., cues); (2) the size of their groups; (3) how much they had learned about a good cue search order; and (4) the magnitude of errors in the information they searched. In each study, we found that a manipulation reducing agents' individual accuracy simultaneously increased their group's diversity, leading to a conflict between the two. These conflicts enabled us to identify certain conditions under which diversity trumps individual accuracy, and vice versa. Specifically, we found that individual accuracy is more important in task environments in which cues differ greatly in the quality of their information, and diversity matters more when such differences are relatively small. Changing the size of a group and the amount of learning by an agent had a limited impact on this general effect of task environment. Furthermore, we found that a group achieves its highest accuracy when there is an intermediate amount of errors in the cue information, regardless of the environment and the heuristic used, an effect that we believe has not been previously reported and warrants further investigation.

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More information

Published date: 16 February 2012

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 439464
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/439464
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: a7a53907-10c3-4beb-9ad9-0b70faed8b21
ORCID for Konstantinos V. Katsikopoulos: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9572-1980

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Date deposited: 23 Apr 2020 16:54
Last modified: 24 Apr 2020 00:39

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