Answering a question? Think what would a crowd would say?

Crowds can be smarter than individuals. Especially on questions with historical dates! So how can one person become many (or at least two)? The British Psychological Society Research Digest comes across a suggestion.

The next time you’re asked to estimate a historical date, for example, try doing the following: make your first estimate; then pause and assume your first guess was off the mark. Consider why, then use this new perspective to make a second estimate. Average your two estimates and, chances are, this newly calculated date will be more accurate than your original answer.

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3 Responses to “Answering a question? Think what would a crowd would say?”

  1. michael webster Says:

    How does anchoring not prevent this result? The result is fascinating and appears to contradict most of the experiments in anchoring. How can we explain both of them?

  2. Stefan Herzog Says:

    @michael: Good point! This technique uses the “consider-the-opposite”-technique to elicit the second estimate (i.e., considering reasons why the anchor/first estimate is wrong). Considering the opposite has been shown to reduce/eliminate anchoring effects by making knowledge accessible that is inconsistent with the anchor (first estimate), thus reducing the (relative) impact of the knowledge that was activated by the anchor (first estimate). In other words, dialectical bootstrapping was in part inspired by and is in fact consistent with the literature on anchoring effects.

  3. Peter Warnock Says:

    I would only consider doing this if I didn’t have confidence in my answer. If I “know” the answer, chances are, I know the answer.

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