Taking a disagreeing perspective improves the accuracy of people's quantitative estimates
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Description: Many decisions rest upon people’s ability to make estimates of unknown quantities. In these judgments, the aggregate estimate of a crowd of individuals is often more accurate than most individual estimates. Remarkably, similar principles apply when aggregating multiple estimates from the same person and a key challenge is to identify strategies that improve the accuracy of people’s aggregate estimates. Here, we present the following strategy: combine people’s first estimate with their second estimate made from the perspective of someone they often disagree with. In five pre-registered experiments (N = 6425, with 53,086 estimates) with populations from the US and UK, we find that such a strategy produces accurate estimates (as compared to when people make a second guess, or when second estimates are made from the perspective of someone they often agree with). These results suggest that disagreement, often highlighted for its negative impact, is a powerful tool in producing accurate judgments.