Sharing Interests with an Audience Makes Us Smarter
Ever notice how thinking out loud usually improves your ideas? I've definitely noticed that - not just in brainstorming sessions in my office, but here, writing on Google+ as well.
Well, it turns out researchers are studying this phenomenon, and are showing that the presence of an audience actually does make us smarter and more articulate, as +Clive Thompson
highlights in his recent article in Wired: You can see this audience effect even in small children. In one of my favorite experiments, a group of Vanderbilt University researchers in 2008 published a study in which several dozen 4- and 5-year-olds were shown patterns of colored bugs and asked to predict which would be next in the sequence. In one group, the children simply repeated the puzzle answers into a tape recorder. In a second group, they were asked to record an explanation of how they were solving each puzzle. And in the third group, the kids had an audience: They had to explain their reasoning to their mothers, who sat near them, listening but not offering any help. Then each group was given patterns that were more complicated and harder to predict.The results? The children who didn’t explain their thinking performed worst. The ones who recorded their explanations did better—the mere act of articulating their thinking process aloud seemed to help them identify the patterns more clearly. But the ones who were talking to a meaningful audience—Mom—did best of all. When presented with the more complicated puzzles, on average they solved more than the kids who’d explained to themselves and about twice as many as the ones who’d simply repeated their answers.
So all this jibber-jabbering that we're doing here on G+ really does serve at least
one purpose: making our ideas better, by putting them in front of an audience.
But, as Clive also notes in his piece, the importance of all of us now writing for one another has another, critically important dimension: namely, it connects people working on similar problems, so that the pace of innovation starts to accelerate.
As some of you know, it's this "shared interest graph" connecting people with similar interests that has most captured my imagination since ramping up my efforts here on Google+ two years ago: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GideonRosenblatt/posts/fxp3viNzg9d
I highly recommend reading Clive's piece on Wired. I think it frames what we're all doing here in a nice way: "Thinking Out Loud" : ➼ http://goo.gl/FF3MGg #sharedinterestgraph #socialmedia