Women Impact Collective Intelligence
What will make us live and work smarter? Two professors, Anita Woolley from Carnegie Mellon and Thomas Malone from MIT, conducted a study to determine whether or not individual IQ had an overriding effect on a group’s collective intelligence. And the results were pretty surprising.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review gave highlights from an interview with Professors Woolley and Malone regarding their study. The Professors explained that they gave subjects aged 18-60 standard intelligence tests, then randomly assigned each person to a team. Each of the 192 teams they studied was given a complex problem to solve that required brainstorming, visual puzzles and decision-making. Once finished, each team was given an intelligence score based on the group’s performance.
Results confirmed that the groups having more members with higher IQ’s didn’t get the highest group score, the ones that had more women did.
The Professors actually repeated the study and their findings came out the same. It wasn’t group IQ, group cohesion or motivation that made the difference. The results showed that the level of social sensitivity most influenced the team results. (Many other studies have shown that women have a higher level of social sensitivity than men.)
Groups that had smarter people who dominated the discussions and decision-making weren’t the most intelligent. The groups that listened to each other, worked together, had open minds and gave constructive criticism - those with more women - performed the best.
These findings can be important on a variety of levels. Woolley and Malone said that collective intelligence is at work on a family, company, and city or country level, and given the ability of technology to unite large groups of people it’s possible to increase the collective intelligence of the world.
So women of the world, unite!