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What is Groupthink?
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when a group of people think the same out of a desire for conformity. In other words, instead of thinking for themselves, they believe the same as their community group for comfort.
The term was popularized by William Whyte while reading 1984 by George Orwell. He explained it was dangerous because people think their ideas and beliefs are rationalized without using problem-solving to see if it is rational themselves. Malicious actors can then take advantage of these people and convince them to do bad things.
Another example is when people can't say certain words because "they’re bad words." But then, if you ask the person, "why is it bad?" they get defensive instead of explaining why. It doesn't matter if you aren't racist when saying certain words to people who are victims of groupthink; they will still think you're racist "because you aren't supposed to say that word." They have been convinced it's wrong to say it, and anyone who says it is racist.
Irving Janis studied groupthink and found among group thinkers:
They insulate you from other opinions
They have too much trust in a single person/idea
There is too much homogeneity in group member's social backgrounds/ideologies
Silence can be seen as consent since it’s rare for people to speak up
It can be solved and noticeable if you surround yourself with people with different backgrounds and opinions than you.
I am a victim of groupthink, and pretty much everyone is. Some more than others, it's hard to avoid or even tell when you're doing it.