Two Minds Better Than One? Sometimes Worse!

It seems reasonable to assume that two minds working to solve a problem are better than one. Recent research published in a paper titled “Optimally Interacting Minds” in the August 27, 2010 issue of Science calls this assumption into question.

The research showed when two people with similar abilities collaborate through communication that indeed they do perform better than either one would on their own. However, when the two people have different abilities the collaboration performs worse than the best performer would on their own.

This suggests that you should not try to solve a problem as a team with a person with lesser or better abilities than you have. If you’re working on a problem team up with someone with similar abilities. Otherwise, delegate the problem to someone with better abilities.