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Groups in Society. In-group/Out-group. Group’s boundaries are made clear People define themselves as in-group or out-group In-group : the group that a person belongs to and identifies with Tend to separate themselves from other groups through the use of symbols.

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in group out group
  • Group’s boundaries are made clear
  • People define themselves as in-group or out-group
  • In-group: the group that a person belongs to and identifies with
    • Tend to separate themselves from other groups through the use of symbols.
    • Groups will often use badges, clothing, names, or slogans as forms of identification.
    • Members view themselves positively and they often view out-groups in negative terms.
    • Compete with out-groups, even to the point of engaging in conflict.
  • Out-group: Any group that a person does not belong to or identify with
  • Groupthink occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment”
  • Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. 
  • A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is isolated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.
symptoms of groupthink
Symptoms of Groupthink
  • Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
  • Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
  • Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
  • Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
  • Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
  • Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
  • Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
  • Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.
  • When the above symptoms exist in a group that is trying to make a decision, there is a reasonable chance that groupthink will happen, although it is not necessarily so.  These group pressures lead to carelessness and irrational thinking since groups experiencing groupthink fail to consider all alternatives and seek to maintain unanimity.  Decisions shaped by groupthink have low probability of achieving successful outcomes.
symptoms of groupthink1
Symptoms of Groupthink

1. Illusions of invulnerability: "No one can defeat us."

2. Rationalizing away serious problems: "Danger signs? What danger signs?"

3. Belief in the group's inherent morality: "We can do no wrong."

4. Stereotyping the opposition: "Those guys are too dumb or too weak to worry about."

5. Pressuring dissenters: "Look, are you a team player or not?"

7. Illusions of unanimity: "Members who keep silent probably agree with the ones who speak out."

avoiding groupthink
Avoiding Groupthink
  • First: Determine to stand for what is right, regardless of the cost.
  • Second: Determine to speak up when the situation warrants it.
  • Third: Seek to structure groups to avoid blind conformity and encourage healthy debate.
    • JFK once said, "When at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us, it will ask: Were we truly men of courage -- with the courage to stand up to one's enemies -- and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one's associates?”
groupthink how
  • One's ability to influence others.
  • The implementation of plans WILL FAIL without the collective group buying into the ideas.So…how does one person or a small group of people get an entire organization to do something they may not be too excited about? What about something they are vehemently opposed to?
examples of groupthink
Examples of Groupthink
  • From small to large…
    • The Wave
    • Fraternities and Sororities
    • Racism/KKK
    • Gangs
    • Cults/Jim Jones
    • Holocaust/Hitler
the wave

Around the 6th inning something happens...”the wave.”

  • How does the wave start, who starts it, and how does a small group get an entire stadium to stop paying attention to the game and do "the wave“? 1) The wave is usually started by a single person or a small group of VERY motivated individuals.2) The wave is most effectively propagated when the game is slow.3) The wave begins with a small group and spreads over time.4) A successful wave with everyone working together is actually pretty fun.
fraternities and sororities
  • Source of identification and belonging
  • Live-in housing
  • Group dynamics
    • Similar interests, desires, friends, etc.
  • What do social interests allow us to do?


    • Sorority at Rutgers University – women sent to hospital
    • Fraternity at Rider University – student forced to drink alcohol, dies of alcohol poisoning
racism and the kkk

Costumes shield identity- unanimity

Use fear to control members and non-members

  • Gangs are usually defined as a “group of individuals who share a common identity and, in current usage, engage in illegal activities. Once an urban problem, street gangs have now infiltrated U.S. communities large and small. Gang experts say at least 21,500 gangs – with more than 731,000 members – are active nationwide.”
    • Initiation
    • Dangers
    • Necessity in most ghettos
      • Protection
      • Out-group: Ostracized
  • Jonestown
    • One of the most extreme examples of groupthink I can imagine.
    • What is the purpose of cults?
    • What do cults provide to their leader(s)?
hitler and the holocaust
  • Brainwashing or proper persuasion?
  • Using stereotypes as justification 
  • Promoting unity, purifying the Aryan race, national pride and purpose, self-worth, etc.
    • Self-justification: describes how, when a person encounters a situation in which a person's behavior is inconsistent with their beliefs, that person tends to justify the behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the behavior.
    • Aryan vs. Jew: Sub-human (In-group, Out-group)
  • Is Groupthink always negative?
  • How can Groupthink be positive?
  • Examples of Groupthink in your life?
themes in 12 angry men
Themes in 12 Angry Men
  • Groupthink
  • Obedience to Authority
  • Conformity
  • In-group/Out-group
  • Persuasion
  • Prejudice/Stereotyping
  • Self-Justification

Keep these in mind for your writing assignment!