Collective Intelligence in Humans – A Literature Review

This literature review focuses on collective intelligence in humans. A keyword search was performed on the Web of Knowledge and selected papers were reviewed in order to reveal themes relevant to collective intelligence. Three levels of abstraction were identified in discussion about the phenomenon: the micro-level, the macro-level and the level of emergence. Recurring themes in the literature were categorized under the above-mentioned framework and directions for future research were identified. The role of the Internet in collective intelligence has been touched on only casually, although it was frequently mentioned in the reviewed literature. However, here the focus was on the principles of collective intelligence, which apply regardless of the existence of the Internet. Although the Internet is a great environment for facilitating collective intelligence, it is not needed for understanding the phenomenon in general. In conclusion, combining various approaches of studying the collective intelligence of humans seems possible despite the multidisciplinary nature of the phenomenon. The three levels of abstraction offer different lenses through which collective intelligence can be viewed. The viewpoints complement each other to provide a fuller picture of this interesting phenomenon.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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