Research Projects

The influence of information and communication technologies on the collective intelligence of human groups

Projektträger Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Start September 2017
Ende Juni 2019
Projektdauer 21 Monate
Projektleitung Prof. Dr. Henner Gimpel

Cooperation in groups is widespread in working life. Companies are interested in organizing their employees in high performance groups and supporting them with technology. The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) enables natural boundaries of cooperation such as time and place to be overcome. This virtual collaboration is increasingly used in the age of digitalisation. Each individual group member has a certain level of individual intelligence. Similarly, research shows that groups have a certain level of collective intelligence.

The collective intelligence of a group describes its inherent ability to perform a variety of cognitive tasks well. However, since collective intelligence in this sense was first established in the context of groups that worked together face-to-face, it is still unclear to what extent this phenomenon also occurs when group work is taught via digital technologies. There are initial studies on this, but so far there is no relevant theory or empirical results regarding the influence of ICTs on the occurrence and structure of collective intelligence. For this reason, this project aims to find out how ICTs with varying degrees of media capacity influence the existence and structure of collective intelligence. A comprehensive analysis of the current state of research and a separate experiment underline the need for further research in this area. For this purpose, an 18-month work programme is proposed, which analyses the existence and structure of collective intelligence in ICT-supported group work. Methodologically, the focus is on a laboratory experiment paired with factor-analytical methods of data analysis.