Saturday, October 16, 2010

Group Intelligence

This article talks about how the effective intelligence of a group depends more on how they get along with each other than the sum of individual IQ's.

. . . Group intelligence depends less on how smart individuals are and more on their social sensitivity, ability to take turns speaking, and the number of women in the group. . . 

. . . Woolley says she was surprised to find that neither the average intelligence of the group members nor the intelligence of the smartest member played much of a role in the overall group intelligence. Social sensitivity – measured using a test in which participants had to identify another person's feelings by looking at photographs of their eyes – was by far the most important factor. . .

. . . The team also found that groups in which members took turns speaking were more collectively intelligent, as were groups containing a majority of women. Woolley thinks this may be because the women had higher levels of social sensitivity than the men. . .

This reminded me of a post I thought was by Jeffrey Agrell, which I can't find, so maybe it wasn't by him. The point of it was that when an orchestra auditions someone, they ought to do it socially as well as musically, as both are important for good music making. Also, in this post of mine Jonathan West talks about collaborative music making. 

As a music therapist, how the people making the music are getting along is as important, if not more so, than the music. This article, though about intelligence and not music making, seems to suggest that the quality of the group's interaction might affect the music as well. It's the sort of thing most of us would assume is the case, but a little empirical data is welcome.

This also probably has a lot to do with why I much prefer being a facilitator of group music making than a director or conductor. Besides not having nearly the skills needed to conduct, social/musical interactions are more interesting to me than abstract music.

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