The Psychology of Group Decisions

The psychology of group decisions is quite deep and interesting. Studies have shown that individuals and groups of people will often change their view on a certain topic after a group discussion on the subject. Hence changing the outcome of a decision

The reasoning behind such shifts is attributed to additional information / knowledge intake or an emotional shift.

In a group discussion, more information is changed, and more diverse point of views are explained.

Researchers have studied whether emotional or intellectual factors have more influence when changing someone’s mind in the decision making process, and which decision making conditions are less emotional and more factual.

The American Psychological Association recently conducted a study to determine this. Here’s a summary:

”Groups discussed and made decisions on either an intellective issue (attempting to discover the true or correct answer) or a judgmental issue (deciding on the moral, valued, or appropriate position), given either a unanimity or a majority decision rule. The largest shift in preference was found for the judgmental issue decided by unanimity rule. The least satisfaction with both the process and the outcome of discussion was found in groups that decided a judgmental issue under majority rule. Content analysis showed that, as expected, the intellective issue elicited more informational than normative influence, and the judgmental issue provoked more normative than informational influence. This pattern was stronger under unanimity rule than under majority rule."

The full study can be reviewed here.

Either way, whether emotional or intellectual factors are at play when people change their view on a potential decision. This shows that collaborative, group decisions lead to better more accurate decision making, as more intellectual as well as emotional information is shared.

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