Sorry Guys! Women Make Groups More Intelligent

December 1, 2013  |  

Listen up men! According to MIT (yes, the MIT), groups are smarter if they have women in them. And the more women, the more intelligent the group. So if you want a team that works smarter, include more women than men.

Studies conducted by Thomas Malone, Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, found that merely putting a bunch of smart people together doesn’t make a smart group, reports Yahoo! However when the group has more women than men, or is exclusively female, the group works better.

“It’s becoming increasingly important to think of businesses and organizations in terms of how intelligent, not just how productive or efficient, they are,” says Malone.

Malone and his colleagues had groups of between two and five people to perform tasks in the lab and applied to the entire group’s performance the same statistical techniques used to measure individual intelligence.

What they discovered was surprising:  individual intelligence is only moderately correlated with group intelligence. So the question begged: If smart people don’t make a group smart, then what does? “We found three significantly correlated factors,” says Malone.

One factor is the average social perceptiveness of the members in the group. In that test, the study subject had to guess what each person in a series of 36 photographs was feeling by looking only at their eyes, reports Yahoo.  “When a bunch of people in the group are good at that, the group on average is more intelligent,” Malone says.

Another factor of group intelligence was the degree to which members participated equally in the discussion. “If one or two people in the group dominated, then on average the group was less collectively intelligent,” notes Malone.

Finally, the third fact: the percentage of women in the group was a predictor of the group’s intelligence. “More women was correlated with more intelligence,” he says.

In part, it’s because women are better at the two aforementioned factors. It has already been proven that on average, women score higher than men do on the social perceptiveness test. So it makes sense that women will uplift the intelligence of a group.  Malone’s study found a linear correlation, indicating that up to and including a group all women seems to be correlated with higher group intelligence.

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