Research on Collaboration and Collective Intelligence

In Serious Play Library by Donna Denio1 Comment

 A team working on one of the tasks used in the study. Teams were asked to assemble complicated Lego® structures based on detailed instructions. Teams were randomly assembled by soliciting participation via Craig's List. Credit: MIT

A team working on one of the tasks used in the study.

NPR carried a news story on collaboration and collective intelligence. I tracked down the foundational research on the National Science Foundation web site and in a serious academic journal called “Science”.

In a study involving 699 individuals, a general collective intelligence emerged. Interestingly enough, this general collective intelligence, or C-factor, was not linked to average or maximum intelligence of individual members. It was linked to average social sensitivity, equality of distribution in turn-taking and in the percentage or women in the group.

For more information, see National Science Foundation (NSF) News – New Study Validates Factors That Enhance the Intelligence of a Group

New release includes a great photo of a team working with LEGOs.


  1. Karen Chisvin

    This is an interesting study. While others were posting about it, I was listening to Anita Woolley being interviewed on CBC radio. You can hear the interview on the podcast of the October 9, 2010 episode of Quirks and Quarks, here
    I believe that Serious Play™ supports behaviour that leads to improved collective intelligence. It’s interesting that the team working with LEGO© bricks is not participating in Serious Play™

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