We report a study in which dyads use Instant Messaging to agree a preference among a set of three apartments. The information given to participants is partially overlapping, and contains a “hidden profile” (HP), such that a single apartment emerges as the best according to an unweighted sum of feature values only if dyad members pool information that is presented to only one of them. When dyads were additionally provided with a shared online spreadsheet, their decision strategy was more likely to be compensatory and relatively exhaustive, even if the distribution of importance among the cues in which the apartments vary meant that a “fast and frugal” heuristic such as take-the-best would be a rational strategy. This study shows the potential of classic experimental tasks, the HP task in particular, for understanding technological constraints on group decision making and signals the importance of understanding decision-making strategies, and the potential of fast and frugal heuristics, for informing the design of decision support systems.

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