Thomas Schultze, Andreas Mojzisch and Stefan Schulz-Hardt

Why dyads heed advice less than individuals do

Judgement and Decision Making

Following up on a recent debate, we examined advice taking in dyads compared to individuals in a set of three studies (total N = 303 dyads and 194 individuals). Our first aim was to test the replicability of an important previous finding, namely that dyads heed advice less than individuals because they feel more confident in the accuracy of their initial judgments. Second, we aimed to explain dyads’ behavior based on three premises: first, that dyads understand that the added value of an outside opinion diminishes when the initial pre-advice judgment is made by two judges rather than one judge (given that the dyad members’ opinions are independent of each other); second, that they fail to recognize when the assumption of independence of opinions does not hold; and third, that the resistance to advice commonly observed in individuals persists in groups but is neither aggravated nor ameliorated by the group context. The results of our studies show consistently that previous findings on advice taking in dyads are replicable. They also support our hypothesis that groups exhibit a general tendency to heed advice less than individuals, irrespective of whether the accuracy of their initial judgments warrants this behavior. Finally, based on the three assumptions mentioned above, we were able to make accurate predictions about advice taking in dyads, prompting us to postulate a general model of advice taking in groups of arbitrary size.

Open data and analysis codes are available here: