Thursday, February 2, 2012

Diverse Personalities Make for Wiser Crowds: How Personality Can Affect the Accuracy of Aggregated Judgments
INSEAD Working Paper 2012/14/DS/OB revised version of 2011/17/DS/OB

The aggregate judgment of multiple individuals is often superior to the individual judgments themselves because the aggregation can cancel out the individual level errors. Crucially, aggregation works best when the individuals’ errors are uncorrelated. This can happen when the individuals being aggregated have access to diverse, uncorrelated information. We propose that one important source of diversity between individuals is their personalities. Individuals’ personalities influence the way they seek, search, and process information. Across two studies, we show that averaging judgments of pairs of individuals with more diverse personalities improves accuracy more than averaging judgments of less diverse pairs. Using a bootstrap procedure, we also test for the robustness of our results. Our results show that one way to improve the wisdom of the crowd is to aggregate the judgments of individuals with diverse personality profiles.