If you're working on a group project it's easy to keep your mouth shut when you don't know the exact answer to a question. However, new research from Utah's David Eccles School of Business suggests that you may be smarter than you think and those tiny pieces of information are key to solving a problem as a whole.
Image: Christopher Holden.
The study took on 540 University of Utah students and put them in three-person groups to find the answers to a wide variety of trivia questions ranging from the elevation of a peak to the fattest man in history. Co-author Dr Bryan Bonner explains that even when no individual knows the correct answer, it's still possible to find it:
It doesn't take much. All you have to do is have people sit there for a while and think, 'What is it I already know about this, and how can that help find the solution?' People find they often know more than they think they do; they realise that they might not know the whole answer to the problem, but there are a couple things they do know that might help the group come to a solution.
The takeaway here is that those pieces of knowledge that pop into your head when faced with a question can indeed be relevant to finding the answer even if the thoughts aren't directly related. The next time you're in a meeting or trying to figure out what month Michael Jackson's "Bad" was released at a pub quiz speak up and share your knowledge. There's a good chance you know more than you think you do.
Study Shows People Know More Than They Think They Do [University of Utah]