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Group Polarization Phenomenon

 

Explanations > Theories > Group Polarization Phenomenon

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

In groups, people tend to be more extreme in their decisions.

Imagine you are arguing your point with someone else: to make the point and separate what you have to say from other people, you may exaggerate your position somewhat. The problem then is that having taken a position you feel obliged to support it, even if you think it actually is a bit extreme.

People who tend to take risky decisions will make riskier decisions in a group as the risk is shared (risky shift). People who are more conservative will tend to make very conservative decisions as they take on the persona of the group and try to protect them from the effects of any risky decisions.

Example

Groups of young people will often do stupid things that they later bitterly regret.

So what?

Using it

To get risky decisions made, bring together people who tend towards risk. To sustain the status quo, use groups of conservative people.

Defending

When a group you are in makes a decision, highlight the real risk vs. the assumed risk in the decision.

See also

Risky Shift Phenomenon, Persuasive Arguments Theory

http://www.la.utexas.edu/conf2000/papers/LawofGroupPolarization.pdf

http://www.pmm.nl/philo/philo.htm

References

Stonor (1961), Moscovici and Zavalloni (1969), Myers and Arenson (1972)

 

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