Group Problem Solving
Patrick R. Laughlin

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Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


Acknowledgments xv

Chapter One: Basic Concepts in Group Problem Solving 1
Group Task, Structure, Process, and Product 1
Interpersonal Influence Processes 3
Group Tasks 3
Additive, Compensatory, Conjunctive, Disjunctive, and Complementary 3
Divisible and Unitary 5
Maximizing and Optimizing 5
Intellective and Judgmental 5
Summary 6
Laboratory Experimental Research on Group Problem Solving 7
Overview of Chapters 7

Chapter Two: Social Combination Models 8
Marjorie Shaw's Classic Study 8
Experimental Designs 10
The Lorge and Solomon Model A 10
The Lorge and Solomon Model A as an Application of the Binomial Theorem 12
Smoke and Zajonc: Group Decision Schemes 12
Thomas and Fink: Extension to More Than Two Response Alternatives 15
Davis: Social Decision Scheme Theory 16
Model Testing and Model Fitting 19
Summary 20

Chapter Three: Memory and Group Problem Solving 22
Recognition Memory 23
Transactive Memory 25
No Communication during Learning or Retrieval 26
Communication during Retrieval 27
Communication during Learning and Retrieval 29
Nine Propositions 31
Cognitive Interdependence and Convergent Expectations 32
Shared and Unshared Information 35
Optimal Assignment of Items to Members 35
Shared and Unshared Knowledge 37
Information Sampling Model 37
Solving a Problem versus Making a Judgment 38
Social Validation of Information 38
Common Knowledge Effect 40
Group Judgment 40
Group Choice 41
Jury Memory 42
Summary 43

Chapter Four: Group Ability Composition on World Knowledge Problems 45
English Vocabulary 45
General Achievement 52
Remote Verbal Associations 53
Homogeneity and Heterogeneity of Group Member Ability 54
Conclusions on Group Ability Composition 55

Chapter Five: Collective Induction 57
An Inductive Rule-Learning Task 58
Collective versus Individual Induction: Effects of Increasing Evidence 58
Collective versus Individual Induction: Effects of Increasing Hypotheses 65
Collective Induction with Increasing Hypotheses and Increasing Evidence 67
Positive Hypothesis Tests and Negative Hypothesis Tests 70
Simultaneous Collective and Individual Induction 72
Social Combination Processes 76
A Theory of Collective Induction 80
Collective Induction in Competitive Auctions 82

Chapter Six: Letters-to-Numbers Problems 87
Letters-to-Numbers Problems 87
Letters-to-N umbers Strategies 88
Two-Letter Substitution Strategy 89
Multiletter Substitution Strategy 89
Known Answer Strategy 90
Combined Known Answer and Multiletter Substitution Strategy 91
Groups Perform Better Than the Best Individuals 91
Trials to Solution 91
Letters per Equation 92
Letters Identified per Equation 92
Two-Letter Substitution Strategy 93
Known Answer Strategy 93
Summary of Results 94
Discussion 95
Groups Perform Better Than the Best Individuals: Informative Equations and Effective Strategies 96
Five Instruction Conditions 96
Trials to Solution 98
Equations with Minimal Letters 98
Groups Perform Better Than the Best Individuals: Effects of Group Size 101
Previous Research on Group Size on Intellective Tasks 101
Experimental Design 103
Trials to Solution 103
Why Do Groups Perform Better Than the Best Individuals on Letters-to-N umbers Problems? 107

Chapter Seven: Group-to-Individual Problem-Solving Transfer 109
Specific Transfer 109
Analogies 109
Mathematical Problems 111
General Transfer 113
Mathematical Problems 113
Brainteasers 114
Logical Implication 115
Four Issues in Group-to-Individual Transfer 116
Design 119
Summary 122

Chapter Eight: Social Choice Theory 124
Basic Concepts of Social Choice Theory 125
Motions (Alternatives) and Preference Orders 125
For-Against Matrices 125
Sequential Pairwise Voting and the Paradox of Voting 126
Runoff Elections 128
Rank Order Voting 128
Approval Voting 130
The Median Voter Theorem 131
Condorcet Jury Theorem 131
Experimental Evidence for Social Choice Theory 132
The Median Voter Theorem 132
Agenda Influence 134
Condorcet Jury Theorem 136
Successive Majorities in a Hierarchical System 137
A Remarkable Concurrence 139
Social Choice Theory and Group Problem Solving: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 140

Chapter Nine: Conclusions 141
Generalizations 141
Retrospective and Prospective 142
References 145
Index 155

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