We report the results of a simulation study in which we explore the joint effect of group absorptive capacity (as the average individual rationality of the group members) and cognitive distance (as the distance between the most rational group member and the rest of the group) on the emergence of collective rationality in groups. We start from empirical results reported in the literature on group rationality as collective group level competence and use data on real-life groups of four and five to validate a mathematical model. We then use this mathematical model to predict group level scores from a variety of possible group configurations (varying both in cognitive distance and average individual rationality). Our results show that both group competence and cognitive distance are necessary conditions for emergent group rationality. Group configurations, in which the groups become more rational than the most rational group member, are groups scoring low on cognitive distance and scoring high on absorptive capacity.