Scientific Proof that Meetings Make People Dumb

MSNBC reports on a fascinating study that, as the headline writer puts it, confirms that “meetings make us dumber.”

The study showed participants a soft drink brand and asked them to brainstorm for alternative brands. What they found was the that people asked to perform the task by themselves performed significantly better than people who were put into groups of three to tackle the task.

According to MSNBC,

“When a group gets together, they can miss out on good options,” study team member H. Shanker Krishnan told LiveScience. This could mean ordering from a pizza place advertised on television even if there’s a better option, or making a poor decision in the boardroom. “Whether it’s with family or a group of co-workers, we could very quickly fixate on things and all come up with the same options.”

. . .

The researchers speculate that when a group of people receives information, the inclination is to discuss it. The more times one option is said aloud, the harder it is for individuals to recall other options, explained Krishnan, associate professor of marketing at Indiana University.

Ah, yes . . . the joys of groupthink.


Meetings makes us dumber, study shows. Abigail Leonard, MSNBC.Com, February 22, 2007.

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