g Versus c: Comparing Individual and Collective Intelligence Across Two Meta-analyses

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  1. John Hattie

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Description: Collective Intelligence (CI) is said to manifest in a group’s domain general mental ability and is measured across a battery of group IQ tests and statistically reduced to a latent factor called the ‘c-factor’. Advocates have found that measuring a group’s CI can predict group performance better than individual IQ. We test this claim by meta-analyzing correlations between group IQ scores (or the c-factor) and nine group performance criterion tasks (effects) pertaining to eight independent samples (N = 857 groups). Results indicated a moderate correlation, r, of .26 (95% CI: .10, .40). All but four studies comprising five independent samples (N = 366 groups) failed to control for the intelligence of individual members using individual IQ scores or their statistically reduced equivalent (i.e., the g-factor). A meta-analysis of this subset of studies found the average IQ of the groups’ members had little to no correlation with group performance (r = .06, 95% CI: -.08, .20). Around 80% of studies did not have enough statistical power to reliably detect correlations between the primary predictor variables and the criterion tasks. Though some of our findings are consistent with claims that a collective intelligence factor (i.e., the c-factor) exists and may relate positively to group performance, limitations suggest alternative explanations cannot be dismissed. We caution against prematurely embracing notions of the c-factor unless it can be independently and robustly replicated and demonstrated to be incrementally valid beyond the g-factor in group performance contexts.

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Link to project and supplemental materials: https://osf.io/xevkj/?view_only=fecd32a38ca441a0b8238ec861039b34

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