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Submission + - Social influence and the wisdom of crowd effect (

formfeed writes: A lot has been written lately on the crowd effect and the wisdom of crowds. But for those of us doubtful of the masses, PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) came up with a study showing how masses can become dumber:
Social influence.

While previous studies show how groups of people can come up with remarkably accurate results, it seems " that even mild social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect in simple estimation tasks." Social influence "diminishes the diversity of the crowd without improvements of its collective error".

In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden. So, slashdot moderation good, American pundit-democracy bad?

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Social influence and the wisdom of crowd effect

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"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."