Experts and Laymen Grossly Underestimate the Benefits of Argumentation for Reasoning
24 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2014
Date Written: October 23, 2014
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.
Keywords: Reasoning, group problem solving, argumentation, intuitions about argumentation
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