Group think According to Janis, who coined the term; groupthink “occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (1972, p. 9) further group think often leads to a decrease in the mental efficacy perception of reality and moral judgement, as personages find themselves in a group system that seeks high cohesion and unanimity which delimits the motivation of the individual to realistically appraise alternate courses of action (Janis, 1972). A common trait of a collective experiencing this phenomenon, is an inclination to take irrational decision making in addition to members of the group being similar in background and further being insulated from external insight. Comparably the singularity of groupthink is present in the film 12 Angry Men, and appears anecdotally, early on the film, present in the expected unanimous vote of ‘guilty,’ that will send the defendant to the electric chair. Invulnerability Literature surrounding the concept of group think is greatly rooted in the writings of Janis. Janis postulated eight symptoms that point to the presence of groupthink and impaired decision making.
The groupthink, or group mentality theory occurs when the majority of the group follows a certain ideal or idea, and causes individuals who might have thought otherwise to support the majority’s conclusions. This has never been more prevalent then in one of the most horrifying events in history: the Holocaust. The events of the Holocaust baffled the world – no one could understand how Hitler convinced thousands of German soldiers to murder millions of innocent Jewish citizens. The world could not understand how a sophisticated and refined European country could follow a mindset that systematically eradicated generations of people for the sole reason that they practiced a certain religion (Tindale, Munler, Wasserman & Smith, 2002). The largest contributor to the events that took place during the Holocaust are the effects of conformity.
Ericsson also states that groupthink would accompany by other lies such as omission and ignoring the plain facts, ect. Ericsson uses the Pearl Harbor as an example of the groupthink to addresses the impact or the consequences as a result of it. Out-and-Out Lies is nothing but all lie. A lie that the author is trying to make sense of it, because the person is being lying to is holding the truth. However, the person who is carrying it out still believes they can still fool the others.
In George Orwell’s novel 1984, the party who rules the society uses different methods to control their citizens and strengthen their own power. By comparing with the modern American society, we can see similarities. This essay will contrast the two societies within the subjects of doublethink, surveillance and the governing of the people. Doublethink is a method and an act that is being used by the party and the American government to make the citizens simultaneously accept two contradictory beliefs as correct at the same time. Surveillance is used as the eye over the population.
Most children, when in trouble for misbehaving, have used the excuse "well everyone else is doing it" and parents often respond by asking their children a question such as, "If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you jump too." This is dealing directly with the idea groupthink. The main cause of peer pressure or groupthink is an issue of conformity (2). In fact, Webster Dictionary even defines groupthink as "a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics." Conformity is "a change in a person’s behavior to coincide more closely with a group standard" (2).
The unanimous decision of going to war with Vietnam was all the cause and effect of groupthink. To avoid such a vicious circle, the best thing to do is to keep oneself in check all the time. This group should have had a neutral person to counter their decisions when wrong and to voice his unbiased opinions when needed. The best rule when dealing with groups is to make it a rule to be honest and be free to speak out when needed (Bacevich J., August 3rd, 2014). It is always good to analyze each and every idea and dissect it to find the flaws to work on.
Instincts and thoughts are only allowed if they work to the Party’s advantage. However, thoughts are always to the Party’s advantage because of a brainwashing tactic called doublethink. Doublethink is the act of holding two contradicting beliefs and simultaneously believing and not believing both, depending on what is convenient for the Party. In a book Julia and Winston read on how the Party operates, doublethink is explained like this: “Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty” (Orwell 214). Aiming to control thoughts, the Party has come up with a method in which they are always correct, no matter what the topic is.
Despite different criticism were made about political biases and of the lack of scientific evidence to support his theories, his work had a tremendous success and have influenced later psychology researches. According to Le Bon the individual rationality and behaviour are influenced by the mind of the group ('group mind') in crowd. He argued that with this influence the fellow (already part of the group) changes significantly: most of them lose their individuality and their animal instincts arise which are taken by the group dynamics, i.e. they release primitive unconscious and aggressive instincts which produce disinhibited and aggressive behaviour among people facilitating certain basic features of the crowd. Le Bon suggests that the single, already member of a group became a group mind, i.e.
In fact, it is impossible to escape the group dynamic. Your family, your profession, your economic standing, your environment, and even your gender places you in a group with peers who share something in common with you. Even if you attempt to rebel against your “group” it just places you into another subgroup with a similar system of group thinking and a similar group mind. Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said, “ The organization of man has lost the capacity to disobey, he is not even aware of the fact that he obeys.” (578) We obey the thinking and constraints of the group mind, whether or not we are conscious of the sheep-like obedience to the ideas percolating within the group dynamic and the collective group mind. The concept of a “group mind” permeates our society; generally, under a fairly positive connotation with an aim of progressing ideas and combining individual ways of thinking to better the group.
Theories of Group Communication The two theories that hold utmost importance in group communication are: (1) Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making by Randy Hirokawa & Dennis Gouran and (2) Adaptive Structuration Theory of Marshall Scott Poole. The first one i.e. Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making disagrees with the conventional perspective of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Instead it suggests that in a group, the members cares about the issue, are reasonably intelligent and face a challenging task that calls for more facts, new ideas and clear thinking. Hirokawa and Gouran are convinced that group interaction has a positive impact on the final decision and the quality of solutions is tremendous.