This study was supported by a faculty grant to the senior author from the Institute of Industrial Relations at the University of California, Berkeley–support which is gratefully acknowledged. We especially want to thank Claire Brown for her support and Helen Boucher for her helpful comments. Copies of the actual case and the preprogrammed “arguments” over the three rounds of deliberation are available on request.
Improving Decision Making by Means of Dissent1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 31, Issue 1, pages 48–58, January 2001
How to Cite
Nemeth, C. J., Connell, J. B., Rogers, J. D. and Brown, K. S. (2001), Improving Decision Making by Means of Dissent. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31: 48–58. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb02481.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Antidotes to problems associated with uniformity of viewpoints have generally involved dissent in one form or another (Katzenstein, 1996), one being “devil's advocate.” Research on authentic dissent has documented additional advantages in that it stimulates divergent and original thought (Nemeth, 1995). In this study, authentic disscnt was compared with devil's advocate and with no dissent. Findings indicate that authentic dissent was superior in (a) stimulating a greater proportion of original thoughts, (b) considering the opposite position, and (c) direct attitude change. Devil's advocate was found to stimulate cognitive boistcring of the initial position, thus raising concerns about the unintended consequences of techniques such as devil's advocate and the subtle task facing attempts to foster original thought and yet maintain cohesion.