A study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that individuals’ social judgments become more similar when subjects observed each other’s beliefs, thereby reducing diversity without a corresponding increase in group accuracy. Contrastingly, this study also shows the general network conditions under which social influence improves the accuracy of group estimates, even as individual beliefs become more similar. The study finds that in decentralized communication networks, group estimates become reliably more accurate as a result of information exchange. Furthermore, results show that the dynamics of group accuracy change with network structure. In centralized networks, where the influence of central individuals dominates the collective estimation process, group estimates become more likely to increase in error.
Becker, J., Brackbill, D., & Centola, D. (2017). Network dynamics of social influence in the wisdom of crowds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1615978114