Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Perceived Effectiveness of Brainstorming

Introduction: Researchers at the University of Arlington used a study to compare the perceived productivity of individuals brainstorming alone, and when with a group. Using a survey format, they were able to study the same group of individuals in different brainstorming settings. Summary: In this article, the researchers took a survey of perceived productivity in a group setting through brainstorming. When surveyed, individuals were asked about the effectiveness of their performance when they worked alone than when they worked with a group. The individuals perceived their performance much more favorably in a group setting, than when they were in a setting alone, although the conclusions of this study state that no differences were made in the output of material. It was also found that the amount of work perceived to have been completed when working in a group setting, was much greater than when working/brainstorming individually. Conclusion: The authors concluded that while individuals perceived their contributions to more than one other individual while brainstorming to be greater and more effective in a group setting, their additions were no more effective than had they practiced the same brainstorming activity alone. It also appears that in a group setting, individuals take credit for a disproportionate amount of work . Source: Pauhus, P. (1993). Perception of performance in group brainstorming: The illusion of group productivity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19(1), 78-89.


  1. This isn't totally surprising. In groups (in my experience) people seem to view the whole experience as being through their own singular narrative, forgetting that there are others around. I feel like this would be exceedingly frustrating in high stress situations that attract people who are unwilling to compromise.(ie political, military)

  2. I personally never found brainstorming in a group to be effective. It seemed that the ideas generated were all off shoots of the loudest or most outgoing people. It redirects the minds of others from what might have been a totally different, and better, angle.