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Gaertig C, Simmons JP. (2021) 'The Psychology of Second Guesses: Implications for the Wisdom of the Inner Crowd'. Management Science
doi: 10.1287/mnsc.2020.3781LICENSE FOR USE
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Celia Gaertig (email@example.com)
Joseph Simmons (firstname.lastname@example.org) ABSTRACT
Prior research suggests that averaging two guesses from the same person can improve quantitative judgments, a phenomenon known as the “wisdom of the inner crowd.” In this article, we find that this effect hinges on whether people explicitly decide in which direction their first guess had erred before making their second guess. In nine studies (N = 8,465), we found that asking people to explicitly indicate whether their first guess was too high or too low prior to making their second guess made people more likely to provide a second guess that was more extreme (in the same direction) than their first guess. As a consequence, the introduction of that “Too High/Too Low” question reduced (and sometimes eliminated or reversed) the wisdom-of-the-inner-crowd effect for (the majority of) questions with non-extreme correct answers and increased the wisdom-of-the-inner-crowd effect for questions with extreme correct answers. Our findings suggest that the wisdom-of-the-inner-crowd effect is not inevitable, but rather that it depends on the processes people use to generate their second guesses.