The robust beauty of majority rules in group decisions

Psychol Rev. 2005 Apr;112(2):494-508. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.112.2.494.


How should groups make decisions? The authors provide an original evaluation of 9 group decision rules based on their adaptive success in a simulated test bed environment. When the adaptive success standard is applied, the majority and plurality rules fare quite well, performing at levels comparable to much more resource-demanding rules such as an individual judgment averaging rule. The plurality rule matches the computationally demanding Condorcet majority winner that is standard in evaluations of preferential choice. The authors also test the results from their theoretical analysis in a behavioral study of nominal human group decisions, and the essential findings are confirmed empirically. The conclusions of the present analysis support the popularity of majority and plurality rules in truth-seeking group decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Environment
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Psychology / methods*