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The wisdom of the crowd playing The Price Is Right


In The Price Is Right game show, players compete to win a prize, by placing bids on its price. We ask whether it is possible to achieve a "wisdom of the crowd" effect, by combining the bids to produce an aggregate price estimate that is superior to the estimates of individual players. Using data from the game show, we show that a wisdom of the crowd effect is possible, especially by using models of the decision-making processes involved in bidding. The key insight is that, because of the competitive nature of the game, what people bid is not necessarily the same as what they know. This means better estimates are formed by aggregating latent knowledge than by aggregating observed bids. We use our results to highlight the usefulness of models of cognition and decision-making in studying the wisdom of the crowd, which are often approached only from non-psychological statistical perspectives.

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