Experts and laymen grossly underestimate the benefits of argumentation for reasoning

Thinking and Reasoning 21 (3):341-355 (2015)
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Many fields of study have shown that group discussion generally improves reasoning performance for a wide range of tasks. This article shows that most of the population, including specialists, does not expect group discussion to be as beneficial as it is. Six studies asked participants to solve a standard reasoning problem—the Wason selection task—and to estimate the performance of individuals working alone and in groups. We tested samples of U.S., Indian, and Japanese participants, European managers, and psychologists of reasoning. Every sample underestimated the improvement yielded by group discussion. They did so even after they had been explained the correct answer, or after they had had to solve the problem in groups. These mistaken intuitions could prevent individuals from making the best of institutions that rely on group discussion, from collaborative learning and work teams to deliberative assemblies



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Author Profiles

Christophe Heintz
Central European University
Hugo Mercier
Institut Jean Nicod

References found in this work

The law of group polarization.Cass R. Sunstein - 2002 - Journal of Political Philosophy 10 (2):175–195.
The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.Gustave Le Bon - 1899 - International Journal of Ethics 9 (4):521-523.
On the Universality of Argumentative Reasoning.Hugo Mercier - 2011 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 11 (1-2):85-113.

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