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Ganser, Christian and Keuschnigg, Marc (2018): Social Influence Strengthens Crowd Wisdom Under Voting. In: Advances in Complex Systems, Vol. 21, No. 6-7, 1850013

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The advantages of groups over individuals in complex decision-making have long interested scientists across disciplinary divisions. Averaging over a collection of individual judgments proves a reliable strategy for aggregating information, particularly in diverse groups in which statistically independent beliefs fall on both sides of the truth and contradictory biases are cancelled out. Social influence, some have said, narrows variation in individual opinions and undermines this wisdom-of-crowds effect in continuous estimation tasks. Researchers, however, neglected to study social-influence effects on voting in discrete choice tasks. Using agent-based simulation, we show that under voting - the most widespread social decision rule - social influence contributes to information aggregation and thus strengthens collective judgment. Adding to our knowledge about complex systems comprised of adaptive agents, this finding has important ramifications for the design of collective decision-making in both public administration and private firms.

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