# Phil 1.3.20

7:00 – 5:00 ASRC PhD

• Diversity promotes collective intelligence in large groups but harms small ones
• Diverse groups are often said to be less susceptible to decision errors resulting from herding and polarization. Thus, the fact that many modern interactions happen in a digital world, where filter bubbles and homophily bring people together, is an alarming yet poorly understood phenomenon. But online interactions are also characterized by unprecedented scale, where thousands of individuals can exchange ideas simultaneously. Evidence in collective intelligence however suggests that small (rather than large) groups tend to do better in complex information environments. Here, we adopt the well-established framework of social learning theory (from the fields of ecology and cultural evolution) to explore the causal link between diversity and performance as a function of group size. In this pre-registered study, we experimentally manipulate both group diversity and group size, and measure individual and group performance in realistic geo-political judgements. We find that diversity hinders the performance of individuals in small groups, but improves it in large groups. Furthermore, aggregating opinions of modular crowds composed of small independent but homogeneous groups achieves better results than using non-modular diverse ones. The results are explained by greater conflict of opinion in diverse groups, which negatively impacts small (but not large) groups. The present work sheds light on the causal mechanisms underlying the success (or lack thereof) of diverse groups in digital environments, and suggests that diversity research can benefit from adopting a wider social learning perspective.
• “I Just Google It”: Folk Theories of Distributed Discovery
• A significant minority of people do not follow news regularly, and a growing number rely on distributed discovery (especially social media and search engines) to stay informed. Here, we analyze folk theories of news consumption. On the basis of an inductive analysis of 43 in-depth interviews with infrequent users of conventional news, we identify three complementary folk theories (“news finds me,” “the information is out there,” and “I don’t know what to believe”) that consumers draw on when making sense of their information environment. We show that the notion of folk theories help unpack the different, complementary, sometimes contradictory cultural resources people rely on as they navigate digital media and public affairs, and we argue that studying those who rarely engage directly with news media but do access information via social media and search provides a critical case study of the dynamics of an environment increasingly defined by platforms.
• Dissertation
• Working on Lit Review overview
• Fixed the margins for blockquotes by creating a more flexible changemargin command
\def\changemargin#1#2{\list{}{\rightmargin#2\leftmargin#1}\item[]}
\let\endchangemargin=\endlist
• Which is used like this
\begin{changemargin}{1.5cm}{1.5cm}
They were one man, not thirty. For as the one ship that held them all; though it was put together of all contrasting things-oak, and maple, and pine wood; iron, and pitch, and hemp-yet all these ran into each other in the one concrete hull, which shot on its way, both balanced and directed by the long central keel; even so, all the individualities of the crew, this man’s valor, that man’s fear; guilt and guiltiness, all varieties were welded into oneness, and were all directed to that fatal goal which Ahab their one lord and keel did point to.
\end{changemargin}
• Fixed a bunch of things, including blockquotes