Group “Intelligence” Linked to Social Skills – and Number of Women Members

Anita Wooley Williams

Anita Wooley Williams

A group’s “general collective intelligence factor” is related to social and communication skills, not to the average or maximum individual intelligence of group members, found Carnegie Mellon’s Anita Williams Woolley, Christopher F. Chabris of Union College, with MIT colleagues Alex (“Sandy”) Pentland, Nada Hashmi, and Thomas W. Malone.

Instead, group intelligence was most closely associated with:

Christopher Chabris

Christopher Chabris

More than 695 volunteers completed an individual I.Q. test, then collaborated in teams to complete workplace tasks including:

  • Logical analysis,
  • Coordination,
  • Planning,
  • Brainstorming,
  • Moral-ethical reasoning.
Alexander Pentland

Alexander Pentland

Teams with higher average I.Qs performed similarly on collective intelligence tasks as teams with lower average I.Qs.

Simon Baron-Cohen

Simon Baron-Cohen

Each participant also completed a measure of empathy based on identifying emotional states portrayed in images of people’s eyes, developed by University of Cambridge’s Simon Baron-Cohen, Sally Wheelright, Jacqueline Hill, Yogini Raste, and Ian Plumb.
This instrument, Reading the Mind in the Eyes test, evaluates social reasoning.

Sally Wheelright

Sally Wheelright

Ability to infer other team members’ emotional states correlated with team effectiveness in solving workplace tasks, but not with extraversion and reported motivation.

David Engel

David Engel

Teams that performed best, both online and face-to-face, also demonstrated stronger social and communication skills:

  • Accurate emotion-reading, empathy, and interpersonal sensitivity,
  • Communication volume,
  • Equal participation.

High-performing teams excelled in inferring others’ feelings even if conveyed without visual, auditory, or non-verbal cues while interacting online in a study by Wooley’s team collaboration with MIT’s David Engel and Lisa X. Jing.

Reading the Mind in the Eyes

Reading the Mind in the Eyes

These studies demonstrate that teams may increase task performance when members have well-developed “Emotional Intelligence,” social insight, and communication skills rather than the highest measured IQ.

  • How do you enhance a work group’s collective intelligence in performance tasks?

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7 thoughts on “Group “Intelligence” Linked to Social Skills – and Number of Women Members

  1. fwade

    Awesome work! Even by your high standards.

    I’ll be reading it slowly… Enjoying your work.

    Thanks for what you do.

    Sent from my android device.

    Reply
  2. kathrynwelds Post author

    Graeme Smith wrote:
    G’Day Kathryn, I guess that’s hardly surprising.

    Kathryn Welds responded:
    Thanks for your comment, Graeme.
    It’s heartening to know that this finding seems to make sense. As we track some of the U.S. Presidential candidates’ utterances, you may be among the Enlightened Minority.
    Thanks for responding!

    Reply
  3. kathrynwelds Post author

    Rachel of TalentRidge, UK wrote:
    An intriguing article, thank you for sharing it

    Kathryn Welds replied:
    Thanks for commenting, Rachel. Elsewhere, Graeme Smith thought that the findings are hardly surprising, so good to know that they piqued your interest.

    Reply
  4. kathrynwelds Post author

    Michel Peruch wrote:
    Another great article very well documented. I have taken the test Reading the Mind in the eyes a few years ago and this is far from being an easy one, but it’s fun to do and, as a result, now, I pay a lot more attention to all non verbal signs and especially the eys of the people I interact with. I strongly encourage everyone to take the test. Thanks Kathryn.

    Kathryn Welds replied:
    Thanks very much, Michel, for your First Person Account of Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. As a curiosity, the test was developed by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s distinguished cousin, Simon Baron Cohen – no joke.

    Reply
  5. kathrynwelds Post author

    Michel Peruch responded
    I did that test again here http://socialintelligence.labinthewild.org/mite/ and I would recommend everyone to do it! So fun and yes, challenging too..
    The Baron-Cohen family seems to have many talent… and very diverse.
    I had the chance to be for the first time in SFO 2 months ago and I now may say you’re lucky to live in a wonderful city. I just loved being there… and I will return! Keep well.

    Kathryn Welds wrote:
    We must connect in person next time your travels bring you to SFO, Michel!

    Reply
  6. kathrynwelds Post author

    Rachel continued:

    Thanks for the link Michel, I have just used it to do the test myself for the first time and as you say it is fun, it also highlights how much we gain from very subtle non verbal signals .. going to share this with others thanks again

    Kathryn Welds responded:
    Thanks, Rachel, for sharing your experience and recommendation of Reading the Mind in the Eyes assessment @ http://socialintelligence.labinthewild.org/mite/
    This builds on Paul Edman’s research on detecting emotion from rapidly-displayed “micro-expressions” – http://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Face-Recognizing-Emotions-Expressions/dp/1883536367/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

    Reply

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