Teams With More Women are More 'Socially Sensitive' With Greater 'Collective Intelligence'

by Tanya Thomas on Oct 3 2010 7:34 AM

 Teams With More Women are More
New studies have shown that teams that comprise of more women are also more 'socially sensitive' and therefore more successful.
A group is more successful if it contains people who are more "socially sensitive"-in this case meaning they're better able to discern emotions from people's faces.

Maybe that's why groups with more women were more likely to excel, said study leader Anita Williams Woolley, an expert in collective intelligence at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Particularly intelligent groups also had more people who took turns speaking, she said.

"As our world becomes flatter and more interconnected, it's not as important to consider what an individual can do by themselves but what they can do collectively," National Geographic News quoted Woolley as saying.

Volunteers were then randomly split into groups of two to five and asked to do some simple tasks, such as solving a visual puzzle. The results revealed that certain groups were better at all types of tasks, which is the "primary evidence for the notion of collective intelligence," Woolley said.

Next, the groups were each asked to perform more complex tasks like playing a video game against an imaginary opponent and solving a research-and-development problem.

As suspected, the groups' collective intelligence scores from the first round of tests predicted how they'd do on the complex experiments, Woolley said.

The study may offer guidance in real-life situations-especially as more decisions in fields such as business and the military are made in consensus-based settings, she said.

Likewise, the findings could help people succeed in group therapy, according to Bonnie Jacobson, a clinical psychologist in New York City.

The study is evidence that human societies may function better en masse, just like many animal species. For instance, "you can't be really good at hunting but not good at gathering," she said.

The study is published tomorrow in the journal Science.