The Wisdom of Crowds in Matters of Taste

Johannes Müller-Trede
Shoham Choshen-Hillel
Meir Barneron
Ilan Yaniv

Decision makers can often improve the accuracy of their judgments on factual matters by consulting “crowds” of others for their respective opinions. In this article, we investigate whether decision makers could similarly draw on crowds to improve the accuracy of their judgments about their own tastes and hedonic experiences. We present a theoretical model which states that accuracy gains from consulting a crowds’ judgments of taste depend on the interplay among taste discrimination, crowd diversity, and the similarity between the crowd’s preferences and those of the decision maker. The model also delineates the boundary conditions for such “crowd wisdom.” Evidence supporting our hypotheses was found in two laboratory studies in which decision makers made judgments about their own enjoyment of musical pieces and short films. Our findings suggest that, although different people may have different preferences and inclinations, their judgments of taste can benefit from the wisdom of crowds.

June, 2017