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Group Problem Solving$
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Patrick R. Laughlin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147918

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147918.001.0001

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Group Ability Composition on World Knowledge Problems

Group Ability Composition on World Knowledge Problems

(p.45) Chapter Four Group Ability Composition on World Knowledge Problems
Group Problem Solving

Patrick R. Laughlin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines group ability composition and social combination processes on world knowledge tasks. On difficult world knowledge tasks, high-ability persons performed better in cooperative groups with other high-ability members than they did alone, and this difference increased with group size. In contrast, low-ability persons did not perform better in cooperative groups with other low-ability members than they did alone, and there was little improvement as group size increased. Low-ability members contributed very little unique information to one another and virtually none to high-ability members. Medium-ability members displayed an intermediate pattern that was more like low-ability than high-ability members. Consequently, the performance of groups of mixed high-ability, medium-ability, and low-ability members was basically proportional to the number of high-ability members: the greater the proportion of high-ability members, the better the group performance.

Keywords:   group ability, group ability composition, social combination processes, world knowledge tasks, high-ability persons, low-ability persons, medium-ability persons, group performance

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