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(630 previous messages)
- 03:41am Mar 17, 2002 EST (#631
Juries may be too big to reach a true consensus
Twelve-member juries may be too big to reach a true consensus,
say Scottish psychologists. Their research shows that in groups
larger than about seven, discussion tends to be dominated by a few
"In a group of ten, typically two people won't open their
mouths," says Simon Garrod of Glasgow University, who led the
study. "Three people could really drive a decision through." This
may help to explain why larger groups of people have more trouble
reaching a consensus.
Garrod based his findings on a study of 150 people, who read
an article on student plagiarism and discussed their opinions in
groups of five or ten.
He believes his research has important implications for many
group decision-making situations in business or government, as
well as in court.
The study's participants read an article about student
plagiarism and Garrod's team gauged their immediate opinions with
a questionnaire. They then discussed what they had read in groups
of either five or ten before giving their opinions again.
In the smaller groups, all five people tended to contribute to
a consensual decision. Speakers often interrupted each other,
allowing everyone to have their say.
"In a small group, other people can finish or modify what
you're saying," says Garrod. This allows a final decision to
emerge from an amalgamation of everyone's opinions.
Larger groups, on the other hand, were dominated by small
cliques who did all the talking. Interruptions were infrequent and
the discussion turned into a sequence of monologues.
The different style of discussion also affected the
participants' final decisions. In the smaller group, peoples'
opinions tended to be dominated by those of other people they had
interacted with most - those they had preceded or followed most
often in the discussion. Conversely, in the larger groups, people
were more influenced by the opinions of the dominant group
Garrod is currently investigating ways of making discussion in
large groups more interactive by using 'facilitators'. These
people do not offer opinions on the issues under discussion, but
ensure that everyone has their say.
They also force the group to resolve differences by stopping
them from skirting around disagreements. Garrod suggests that
facilitators could make juries more effective.
Garrod presented his research at the British Association's
Festival of Science in Glasgow.
James Randerson, Glasgow 10:14 04 September 01 New Scientist
- 03:44am Mar 17, 2002 EST (#632
Homeland Testosterone surge - may make decision makers far too
cockey ? http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992050
Would better foriegn policy be made if participants were 'off shore'
^ Just a thought here :)
- 09:00am Mar 17, 2002 EST (#633
We're animals. Whether one is religious or not, we're "a little
lower than the angels" - - - we're team playing, hunting, social,
emotional, culture based, socio-technical animals.
Everything beautiful people do is consistent with that --- and
every ugliness, too.
If we understood more about what we are - - and the limited
appeal of "truth" when it is a "game plan" or a "hunting plan" being
discussed - - sequencing moves and stances of a team - - not
determining some academic truth - - - we'd be much safer.
But objective truth matters when life and death decisions
have to be made.
We are socio-technical animals, and it much more possible than
before to get facts collected together - and "connect the dots" to
get reasonable closure on issues that matter. And progress is being
made. The internet helps. I think that, even with the distraction
here, we've made some progress.
More people in the world are paying more focused attention than
before, and so the chances of getting to reasonable balances are
Without a sense of proportion - without checking for facts, and
considering contexts -- words, and "logic" at the level Bush often
uses -- can justify anything. http://www.subvertise.org/details.php?code=453
Osama bin Later By MAUREEN DOWD http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/17/opinion/17DOWD.html
Better Late Than . . . By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/17/opinion/17FRIE.html
ends with this:
"Mr. Bush has repeatedly told the world: If you're
not with us, you're against us. He needs to remember this: The
rest of the world is saying the same thing to us."
"If you're not with us, you're against us" is "team logic" --
"hunting band logic." -- "Them and us logic." Very natural indeed.
Totally removed from, indifferent to, notions of objective truth
about details of fact and context.
Who wants to listen to (or consider the humanity) of an "enemy"
or an "outsider?" Very natural. After all, we're animals. At our
very worst, people are willing to use nuclear weapons
But many of the things that make us special, and permit us to
survive and prosper, require us to do better than that.
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