Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Groups Perform Better Than The Best Individuals At Solving Complex Problems

Date:
April 23, 2006
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
Groups of three, four, or five perform better on complex problem solving than the best of an equivalent number of individuals, says a new study appearing in the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Groups of three, four, or five perform better on complex problem solving than the best of an equivalent number of individuals, says a new study appearing in the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA). This finding may transfer to scientific research teams and classroom problem solving and offer new ways for students to study and improve academic performance, according to the study authors.

Related Articles


In this study 760 students from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign solved two letters-to-numbers coding problems as individuals or as groups of two, three, four and five people. Previous research has shown that groups perform better than the average individual on a wide range of problems. However, this study tested the relationship between group size and performance as compared to that of an equivalent number of individuals by comparing the number of trials to solutions and answers given for complex problems. The groups of three, four, and five performed better than the best of an equivalent number of individuals on the letters-to-numbers problems.

"We found that groups of size three, four, and five outperformed the best individuals and attribute this performance to the ability of people to work together to generate and adopt correct responses, reject erroneous responses, and effectively process information," said lead author Patrick Laughlin, PhD., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Moreover, groups of two performed at the same level as the best of two individuals, suggesting that this group size was too small to introduce the necessary dynamics for optimal problem-solving. However, since groups of three, four, and five were able to achieve the same results, the authors submit that groups of at least three are necessary and sufficient to perform better than the best of an equivalent number of individuals on complex problems that require understanding of verbal, quantitative, or logical conceptual systems. Understanding these systems are necessary skills for scientific research teams, and the finding that groups of three or more perform better than the best of the same number of individuals may indicate that scientific research teams perform better than their top member would perform alone.

"Problem solving groups may also be a useful method for students to use in school," said Laughlin. Further research is necessary to determine if cooperative groups perform better than the best individuals in academic settings with different age groups and for other forms of problem solving.

Article: "Groups Perform Better Than the Best Individuals on Letters-to-Numbers Problems: Effects of Group Size", Patrick Laughlin, Erin Hatch, Jonathan Silver, and Lee Boh, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 90, No. 4


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Groups Perform Better Than The Best Individuals At Solving Complex Problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060423191907.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2006, April 23). Groups Perform Better Than The Best Individuals At Solving Complex Problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060423191907.htm
American Psychological Association. "Groups Perform Better Than The Best Individuals At Solving Complex Problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060423191907.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins