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  • K. Brad Wray

I evaluate the extent to which we could learn something about how we should be conducting collaborative research in science from the research on groupthink. I argue that Solomon has set us in the wrong direction, failing to recognize that the consensus in scientific specialties is not the result of deliberation. But the attention to the structure of problem-solving that has emerged in the groupthink research conducted by psychologists can help us see when deliberation could lead to problems for a research team. I argue that whenever we need to generate alternative solutions or proposals, groupthink is a genuine threat, and research teams would be wise to allow individuals opportunities to work alone. But the benefits of team work emerge when scientists seek to evaluate the various proposals generated, and determine a course of action. Then the group is less prone is groupthink, and the interaction of group members can be an epistemic asset.

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