Jayles, Bertrand, Escobedo, Ramon, Cezera, Stéphane, Blanchet, Adrien, Kameda, Tatsuya, Sire, Clément and Théraulaz, Guy (2020) The impact of incorrect social information on collective wisdom in human groups. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, vol. 17 (170).

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Identification Number : 10.1098/rsif.2020.0496


A major problem resulting from the massive use of social media is the potential
spread of incorrect information. Yet, very few studies have investigated
the impact of incorrect information on individual and collective decisions.
We performed experiments in which participants had to estimate a series
of quantities, before and after receiving social information. Unbeknownst
to them, we controlled the degree of inaccuracy of the social information
through ‘virtual influencers’, who provided some incorrect information.
We find that a large proportion of individuals only partially follow the
social information, thus resisting incorrect information. Moreover, incorrect
information can help improve group performance more than correct information,
when going against a human underestimation bias. We then
design a computational model whose predictions are in good agreement
with the empirical data, and sheds light on the mechanisms underlying
our results. Besides these main findings, we demonstrate that the dispersion
of estimates varies a lot between quantities, and must thus be considered
when normalizing and aggregating estimates of quantities that are very
different in nature. Overall, our results suggest that incorrect information
does not necessarily impair the collective wisdom of groups, and can even
be used to dampen the negative effects of known cognitive biases.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: September 2020
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: human collective behaviour, incorrect information, social influence, computational modelling, wisdom of crowds
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2020 14:29
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 06:15
OAI Identifier: oai:tse-fr.eu:124821
URI: https://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/41844
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