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Why does groupthink occur? There are several causes of groupthink, which makes it preventable. When the group is highly cohesive, or has a strong sense of connection, maintaining group harmony may become more important to the group than making sound decisions. If the group leader is directive and makes his opinions known, this may discourage group members from disagreeing with the leader. If the group is isolated from hearing alternative or new viewpoints, groupthink may be more likely. How do you know when groupthink is occurring?

There are several symptoms of groupthink including the following:

  • perceiving the group as invulnerable or invincible—believing it can do no wrong
  • believing the group is morally correct
  • self-censorship by group members, such as withholding information to avoid disrupting the group consensus
  • the quashing of dissenting group members’ opinions
  • the shielding of the group leader from dissenting views
  • perceiving an illusion of unanimity among group members
  • holding stereotypes or negative attitudes toward the out-group or others’ with differing viewpoints (Janis, 1972)

Given the causes and symptoms of groupthink, how can it be avoided? There are several strategies that can improve group decision making including seeking outside opinions, voting in private, having the leader withhold position statements until all group members have voiced their views, conducting research on all viewpoints, weighing the costs and benefits of all options, and developing a contingency plan (Janis, 1972; Mitchell&Eckstein, 2009).

Group polarization

Another phenomenon that occurs within group settings is group polarization. Group polarization (Teger&Pruitt, 1967) is the strengthening of an original group attitude after the discussion of views within a group. That is, if a group initially favors a viewpoint, after discussion the group consensus is likely a stronger endorsement of the viewpoint. Conversely, if the group was initially opposed to a viewpoint, group discussion would likely lead to stronger opposition. Group polarization explains many actions taken by groups that would not be undertaken by individuals. Group polarization can be observed at political conventions, when platforms of the party are supported by individuals who, when not in a group, would decline to support them. A more everyday example is a group’s discussion of how attractive someone is. Does your opinion change if you find someone attractive, but your friends do not agree? If your friends vociferously agree, might you then find this person even more attractive?

Social facilitation

Not all intergroup interactions lead to the negative outcomes we have described. Sometimes being in a group situation can improve performance. Social facilitation occurs when an individual performs better when an audience is watching than when the individual performs the behavior alone. This typically occurs when people are performing a task for which they are skilled. Can you think of an example in which having an audience could improve performance? One common example is sports. Skilled basketball players will be more likely to make a free throw basket when surrounded by a cheering audience than when playing alone in the gym ( [link] ). However, there are instances when even skilled athletes can have difficulty under pressure. For example, if an athlete is less skilled or nervous about making a free throw, having an audience may actually hinder rather than help. In sum, social facilitation is likely to occur for easy tasks, or tasks at which we are skilled, but worse performance may occur when performing in front of others, depending on the task.

Questions & Answers

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branches of psychology
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An essay on The Controversy of Nature and Nurture
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University of Leipzig Germany 1879
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studies individual
studies they people brain
Neurologist do specific work on the brain analyzing how it regulates our body. The brain also stores information wether it be auditory or visual and or even spatial. we have a central nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system.
psychosocial theory of Stick Erickson
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Object-relations theory states that the inner core personality of an individual begins form the early age relationship with the mother.
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to know whether they are mentally healthy and capable to give the exact information about the incident without blurred images in their mind that normal people can capable of awearing it. to know whether their mind processed what it learned properly.
in order to determine mental capacity which is assesed by qualified healthcare professional and provide client with any support they may require
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has its roots in religious practice
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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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