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Keywords:

  • Group decision making;
  • Recognition heuristic;
  • Adaptive strategy choice;
  • Recognition-based model;
  • Group discussion

Abstract

Applying the framework of ecological rationality, the authors studied the adaptivity of group decision making. In detail, they investigated whether groups apply decision strategies conditional on their composition in terms of task-relevant features. The authors focused on the recognition heuristic, so the task-relevant features were the validity of the group members' recognition and knowledge, which influenced the potential performance of group strategies. Forty-three three-member groups performed an inference task in which they had to infer which of two German companies had the higher market capitalization. Results based on the choice data support the hypothesis that groups adaptively apply the strategy that leads to the highest theoretically achievable performance. Time constraints had no effect on strategy use but did have an effect on the proportions of different types of arguments. Possible mechanisms underlying the adaptive use of recognition in group decision making are discussed.