Friday, June 27, 2008

Hive Mind

*edit* - Evidently this was just chillin' as a draft for a while, and I double posted. Whoops!

This article brings to light some interesting research. Basically, when you ask two people to guess about something, the average of their two guesses is closest to accurate. When you ask a group of people, the accuracy increases.

And that sort of phenomenon could be expected. However, the strange thing is that when someone guesses *twice* - differently than their first, the average is also closer. At a second guess period of about three weeks, the average of the two guesses was about 16% more accurate. Not as accurate as a group, but more accurate than an individual.

I found strange a question they asked;
But that this happens at all raises questions about “individuality” within an individual. If guesses can shift almost at random, where are they coming from?

I don't know if it really raises questions about individuality. Certainly it seems like random, but my guess is that it might have something to do with the fact that we're constantly in a state of change. If changing removed our individuality, then we would /never/ be an individual.

For instance, consider the young child. Their personality is vastly different from a geriatric, and that personality is quite different from the teenager, who is different from the middle-ager. My theory is that everyone has a "core" personality, which is then affected by all input from the time of birth. Some things may not have such a great effect as others, but doubtless it still does. The effect of rape on a child will be much more severe than the effect of going to bed without any dinner. Or even sighting a butterfly that day.

There are probably formulas that could assign values to each type of input and possibly even predict behavior (similar to criminal profiling). You would most likely not be able to incorporate ALL input (there's a phenomenal amount of data), but you could get a pretty general picture.

Barring any aberrations, of course.


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