For a century, people have been devising tests that aim to capture a person’s mental abilities in a score, whether it is an IQ test or the SAT. In just an hour or an afternoon, a slate of multiple choice questions or visual puzzles helps sift out the superstars — people whose critical thinking skills suggest they have potent intellectual abilities that could one day help solve real-world problems.
But separating the spectacularly bright from the merely average may not be quite as important as everyone believes. A striking study led by an MIT Sloan School of Management professor shows that teams of people display a collective intelligence that has surprisingly little to do with the intelligence of the team’s individual members. Group intelligence, the researchers discovered, is not strongly tied to either the average intelligence of the members or the team’s smartest member. And this collective intelligence was more than just an arbitrary score: When the group grappled with a complex task, the researchers found it was an excellent predictor of how well the team performed.
Read further at the Boston Globe.