As news organizations make various attempts to curate and promote the world of information, many rely on "shared" news as a proxy for worthy news. Newspapers highlight their most emailed stories, and article pages on this site and others prominently feature Facebook and Twitter statistics that advertise the degree to which readers share our pieces.

But a new study highlighted by Wired Science suggests that sharing information corrupts the "wisdom of crowds" by making people confident about certain viewpoints whose only merit is the fact that they're widely shared.

"Although groups are initially 'wise,' knowledge about estimates of others narrows the diversity of opinions to such an extent that it undermines" collective wisdom, wrote researchers led by mathematician Jan Lorenz and sociologist Heiko Rahut of Switzerland's ETH Zurich, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on May 16. "Even mild social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect."

And here's a chaser for that shot of pop psychology: At 1:30pm Tuesday, this Wired Science article about the dangers of shared information was the sixth most shared article of the day on Google News. Draw your own conclusions.



Read the full story at Wired Science.