Average out your own estimates for a better result

January 13, 2009

In current Psychological Science:

Wisdom of Many in One Mind:
Improving Individual Judgments With Dialectical Bootstrapping

Stefan M. Herzog and Ralph
Groups are better than individuals at making
judgments about the future and other unknowns, because individual errors tend
to cancel out. Can the power of averaging that underlies this “wisdom of
crowds” be harnessed to improve individual judgments too? This study
shows that averaging an individual’s first estimate with one made later
fosters accuracy. A single mind can thus simulate the wisdom of many.