Is “Devil’s Advocate” a bad way to improve decision making?

Photo credit

Antidotes to problems associated with uniformity of viewpoints have generally involved dissent in one form or another (Katzenstein, 1996), one being “devil’s advocate.” Research on authentic dissent has documented additional advantages in that it stimulates divergent and original thought (Nemeth, 1995). In this study, authentic dissent was compared with devil’s advocate and with no dissent. Findings indicate that authentic dissent was superior in (a) stimulating a greater proportion of original thoughts, (b) considering the opposite position, and (c) direct attitude change. Devil’s advocate was found to stimulate cognitive boistering of the initial position, thus raising concerns about the unintended consequences of techniques such as devil’s advocate and the subtle task facing attempts to foster original thought and yet maintain cohesion.

Source: “Improving Decision Making by Means of Dissent” from Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 31, Issue 1, pages 48–58, January 2001

I found this study in Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.

You should follow me on Facebook here. I’ve started posting extra content on that page. Don’t miss out; go here and hit the “Like” button.

You can also subscribe via RSS, Twitter, or email.  Check out the site’s most popular posts of all time.

Related Posts:

Do the smartest people lack common sense?

Is the world getting stupider?

Do “Baby Einstein” and similar media actually make kids smarter?

Is intelligence sexy?

Is there any connection between what you eat and how smart you are?

Can you tell how smart your child is by how early they start lying?

Does doodling make you smarter?

Are extraverts smarter than introverts?

Do we perceive negative people as smarter and more competent than positive people?

Are smart people more likely to be victimized at work?

Is your brother smart? Then you might be crazy.

Is there a connection between birth weight and intelligence?

Is there a connection between atheism and intelligence?

Are smart people less susceptible to the anchoring effect?

Posted In:
Post Details