Do group settings make us less intelligent?

Group settings can serve to diminish expressions of intelligence, new research has suggested. Investigators from Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found that the dynamics of dinner parties and jury deliberations can change the articulation of IQ in some susceptible individuals.

According to the study, a number of people lose their ability to solve problems when placed in groups and informed of their performance levels in cognitive tasks and compared against their peers.

Read Montague, director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory and Computational Psychiatry Unit at the learning establishment - which was formed in 2007 following a joining up between Virginia Tech and the Carilion Clinic - stated: "You may joke about how committee meetings make you feel brain dead, but our findings suggest that they may make you act brain dead as well."

The researchers said the findings show that even small social signals in group situations can have an impact on individual cognitive functioning.

Dr Rob Yeung, a Chartered Psychologist at leadership consulting firm Talentspace, commented: "This seems broadly consistent with other studies which have shown that groups suffer from a number of problems. 

"For example, [groups] tend to be less creative than the same number of individuals working individually - both in terms of the quality of their output as well as the number of different ideas that they come up with. 

"Another problem that's been identified is the so-called groupthink, where the group eventually decides to take a more extreme viewpoint than individual members of the group may have."