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A Google+ Experiment in Collective Intelligence

UPDATE: I'm closing down this version of the experiment to fix some problems with the below image. Please go here instead:

Please help me run an experiment to test whether the "wisdom of crowds" actually works here on Google+ and see if this community can collectively guess the number of Cheerios in the below glass vase.

The three conditions for a group to be collectively intelligent are diversity, independence, and decentralization. Here are the two steps to run this experiment:

1) Without looking at others' responses (to ensure the independence of our guesses), comment below with your single best guess on how many Cheerios are in the vase. It's one vase, not two; just shown from two different perspectives. Only one guess per person, please.

2) Share this post with your circles to help increase the diversity and decentralization of our guesses.

More info:

Individually, the probability of your guessing the right number of Cheerios is really low, of course. But if there truly is wisdom in a crowd, then when the answers of a large number of people are averaged together, it should converge on the right answer. That's the theory, and that's what we're testing here.

I will let this experiment run until 8PM GMT on April 18. At that point, I'll go through each comment, everywhere it's been shared, plus it to mark that it's been recorded as I input its guess into a spreadsheet. I'll calculate the average and look for some other results and then share our collective guess with you in a follow up post to report on just how wise we are - collectively. To make sure you get it, I will post a comment on every place this post is shared, pointing back to these results.

The ten people with the closest guesses will be featured prominently in that follow up post and I'll also highlight the people who shared the post in which those top ten guesses occurred as a way to recognize at least some of you for helping to ensure the diversity and decentralization of our guesses.

Thanks in advance for your help. I can't wait to see the results and share them with you.

Again, the three conditions for a group to be collectively intelligent are diversity, independence, and decentralization. If you're interested in learning more, here's +James Surowiecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds" book on Amazon:

And here's the Wikipedia article on "Wisdom of Crowds":
Eliott Mahou's profile photoMichael Bergbauer's profile photoKevin Karlin's profile photoMariam Cook's profile photo
1491 (I know it's a lot, but wait and see :)
I'm going with 0. Those aren't Cheerios.
Depends how much cherios u eat whilst counting them
Jacob Dix

I have to add though that this isn't group or collective intelligence you are testing +Gideon Rosenblatt. This is testing the likelihood that our guessing will reach the average. That is likely, I can imagine, unless people weigh the image falsely because of some optical illusion, or other factors like hunger.

Testing for group intelligence would mean organization which would require looking at others' answers in some way. A second round might allow for guesses to be re-made based on what everyone else said. Which would allow for narrowing things down.
215 on further assessment 645 (explanation available on request)
+Gideon Rosenblatt- you should have asked people to make their response on a Google Doc form. It would make it impossible to cheat (you can hide the underlying spreadsheet) and it would save you A LOT of work (you wouldn't have to enter the data into a spreadsheet)!!!
300 (edited just because I wrote 0 too much initially:)
Genius idea, I wonder if me being able to see the last 2 guesses will affect my guess..
325 is my guess
may be some 700 to 800, so lets take average 750
1076. The vase tapers. Have you counted the cheerios? Are There crumbs
Enough to feed 4 people for brunch.
If i counted what is appearing from both sides of the jar(that s really hard work),how on earth,i could count those in the middle?still think this not enough 4an average person.cheers
One more thing,how would we know about the results.!!!!!!
Wait a minute, are those Apple Jacks?
~ 10 W x 10 T x 8 D =

800 Cheerios?
I guess 0, because that looks like the Kashi heart smart cereal with the hearts removed, not Cheerios.
I bet the median is more accurate than the average.
Saw a documentary on the Wisdom of Crowds. And yes, its insanely true... lol and my guess: 1426
402, or is the point really to see how many people recognize that those aren't cheerio's? Something more about how people will accept that those are cheerios and play your game because they are told that's what's in the vase?
Stupid,funny, and I totally agree with you!
It is really hard to guess it without seen the actual size of the vazes.
I was at a fair, and they were having a contest. It said, "Guess how many jelly beans there are in the jar" and you win a prize. "Ah c'mon, man, lemme just haaaave some. Tell you what, you guess how many I want. If you said a handful, you are right." -Mitch Headberg
hated stats. as a mathematical subject.
so stat. speaking, a thousand monkeys typing will, if you collate the all there words together, create a masterpiece of literature.