The Psychology of Second Guesses: Implications for the Wisdom of the Inner Crowd

Management Science, Forthcoming

54 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2020

See all articles by Celia Gaertig

Celia Gaertig

University of California, Berkeley

Joseph P. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Date Written: July 21, 2020

Abstract

Prior research suggests that averaging two guesses from the same person can improve quantitative judgments, a phenomenon known as the “wisdom of the inner crowd.” In this article, we find that this effect hinges on whether people explicitly decide in which direction their first guess had erred before making their second guess. In nine studies (N = 8,465), we found that asking people to explicitly indicate whether their first guess was too high or too low prior to making their second guess made people more likely to provide a second guess that was more extreme (in the same direction) than their first guess. As a consequence, the introduction of that “Too High/Too Low” question reduced (and sometimes eliminated or reversed) the wisdom-of-the-inner-crowd effect for (the majority of) questions with non-extreme correct answers and increased the wisdom-of-the-inner-crowd effect for questions with extreme correct answers. Our findings suggest that the wisdom-of-the-inner-crowd effect is not inevitable, but rather that it depends on the processes people use to generate their second guesses.

Keywords: wisdom of crowds, estimation, crowd within, de-biasing, intuitive confidence

Suggested Citation

Gaertig, Celia and Simmons, Joseph P., The Psychology of Second Guesses: Implications for the Wisdom of the Inner Crowd (July 21, 2020). Management Science, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3668281 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3668281

Celia Gaertig (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Joseph P. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6374
United States

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