Motivated To Get It Right: Closing the Gap Between Group and Individual Decision Quality
35 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2009 Last revised: 13 Aug 2010
Date Written: June 15, 2009
While putting people into groups amplifies their cognitive capacity, it can either intensify or impair people’s motivational level. Resting on the premise of groups as motivated-information-processors, the current paper proposes that factors that vary a group’s motivation level might hold the key to understanding when and why groups would make better decisions than individuals. Three studies, using a simple economic game (the 2-person-beauty-contest-game), systematically demonstrated the determining role of motivation in group versus individual decisions. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that social- and epistemic-motivation, two global motivations stimulating both individuals and groups, exert orthogonal and positive effects on face-to-face group members, which lead groups to make better decisions than individuals. Study 3 showed that the joint effects of the two motivations indeed contribute to the discrepancy between group and individual decision qualities. The current paper shows that while groups have the head (cognitive capacity) to make better decisions than individuals, their hearts (motivation) determine whether this is actualized. When the heart is in the right place, the head will follow.
Keywords: motivation, individual versus group, decision making, game theory
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