• group decision making;
  • information sharing;
  • mental model formation;
  • complex problem space;
  • agent-based simulation


We investigated dynamics of group decision making on complex problems when agents can form mental models of others from discussion history. Results indicated that as the agents' memory capacity increases, the group reaches superficial consensus more easily. Surprisingly, however, the shared mental model of the problem develops only within a limited area of the problem space, because incorporating knowledge from others into one's own knowledge quickly creates local agreement on where relevant solutions are, leaving other potentially useful solutions beyond the scope of discussion. The mechanisms stifling group-level exploration and their implications for decision making research are discussed. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity 16: 49–57, 2011