Could enlarging your social network impair your judgement?

People tend to discuss safe subjects at work. (And perhaps in general.) This leads to a “false consensus bias” where individuals project their values onto others — you find areas of agreement and assume others agree with you on other more difficult issues. Stanford researchers have found this bias gets amplified the larger your social network:

In fact, their big networks may make them overconfident they know the answer that will be in line with colleagues’ thinking, and could lead to lapses in judgment, researchers say.

As the size of their networks grew, so did the extent at which individuals overestimated how many others would agree with them.

Why? People discuss “safe subjects in the workplace — sports, kids, current events,” the researchers wrote. So “little of the insights that people gain from social ties may apply” to moral dilemmas.

Read it all in the Washington Post. Thanks to Overcoming Bias for the pointer.

Past Posts