The Secret to Smart Groups Isn’t Smart People – It’s Women

by Rachel Baker on January 19, 2015

I know, I know. What kind of feminist crap is this?! Well, turns out, its not just feminist crap. Regardless of what you think about this title, I encourage you to read the article and then read the links to the study. And remember, these are MIT scientists, not some bunch of random scientists from some random school submitting some random study to some random journal.

Read More: The Secret to Smart Groups Isn’t Smart People

The MIT scientists answer the first question explicitly, with a no. “We found no significant correlation between a general factor of personality and collective intelligence or RME,” they write. Mind-reading isn’t a personality trait. It’s a skill.

Second, the relationship between smart teammates and smart groups is complicated by the fact that groups are sometimes assigned problems that only require one person to solve. If you ask a team of highly emotionally sensitive people to solve a differential calculus problem, and none of them knows calculus, it’s unlikely that they will come to grasp Taylor polynomials by looking deeply into each others’ eyes and really, truly listening. When the problem can be solved by one really smart cookie (e.g.: who remembers calculus), it’s nice to have a really smart cookie. If, however, the solution requires deep collaboration, EQ trumps IQ.

I found these studies eye-opening for two further reasons. First, there is a growing sense that the Internet can destroy interpersonal skills, kill our emotional intelligence, and turn us into warm-blooded versions of the very robots that we fear will one day take our jobs. But these studies suggest that the rules of empathy hold both on- and offline. Emotionally sensitive people are gifted at reading between the lines, whether the literal lines are brow wrinkles or text messages.

Second, if you take these findings seriously, they represent a third fork of evidence suggesting that the male-female gender wage gap will not only close but also invert. It would surprise me if, in a generation, women aren’t earning more than men across many mainstream industries.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.

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