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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Groups have notoriously shown less creativity than the sum of their group members. And while others can inhibit creative thought and its expression, another line of research finds that, when another group member shares a dissenting viewpoint, group creativity is often increased. Dissent stimulates thought that is divergent, and, on balance, leads to better decision-making and more creativity. This is true even if that dissent is wrong and even if the dissenter(s) are not valued. Importantly, evidence shows that for dissent to effectively stimulate such divergent thinking, it should be authentic. Role-playing techniques are less effective and may in fact have unintended consequences. The take-home message is that groups should embrace, not just tolerate, dissenting viewpoints for they improve the quality of thought.

Keywords: dissent, divergent thinking, group performance, groupthink, decision-making, creativity, conformity, diversity, role-playing, information sharing

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