Attitudes   5   group influence on attitudes

Attitudes 5 group influence on attitudes


And now for our last lecture on attitudes,
and I want to point out that these three concepts are coming from Chapter 9. So groupthink occurs
when people want to have strong relationships with the other members of their group and
so they inhibit maybe what their natural responses would be in order to say things that are more
likely to keep the group together. So they care, in some ways, more about making sure
the group is together than about making a good decision.
So let’s say we ask this bunch of executives, Should we spend more money on advertising.
And all of them say, No, we really shouldn’t spend more money on advertising. Now we say,
Ok, we want you to tell us out loud, How do you feel about spending more money on advertising?
The first guy says to himself, Well, I don’t want to be the guy who says no all the time
because that guy isn’t that great for group morale so I’m going to say yes. The second
guy thinks, I was going to say no, but I don’t want the first guy to think that I think he’s
stupid, so I’ll say yes too. So that just happens to the whole group. They all end up
saying yes even though they all thought, No. So groupthink is occurring because this interest,
this pressure, to have strong intergroup relationships is overriding the desire to make sure that
you make a good decision. Groupthink can also have a relationship with
group polarization. And group polarization occurs when a group discusses their attitudes
and they become more extreme in their attitudes. So all these executives have now said yes,
we should spend more money on advertising, they talk about it, and we ask them again,
do you think we should spend more money on advertising, and they’re like, YES! We definitely
do! Their attitudes became more extreme after they had a chance to discuss it within themselves.
Lastly, groups are willing to take more risks than individuals are. So we have a new question.
Should we expand to Argentina? We’re going to ask this woman. She thinks, I really don’t
think we should expand to Argentina. And yet, when we ask her in a group, she thinks, yeah,
I do think we should expand to Argentina. As an individual, she feels the full responsibility
of this decision. But when she’s a member of the group, the responsibility for that
decision is kind of diffused across the group. If something bad happens, the blame gets spread
across a bunch of people instead of just on one person. So when you’re an individual,
you’re very highly aware that you are going to be singled out and you don’t want that
to happen. But when you’re in a group, you’re like, well, it’s kind of everybody’s fault
if we make a bad decision so I’m more willing to take risks because the consequences for
me individually wouldn’t be so bad. So risky shift occurs because everybody in the group
is thinking, it wouldn’t be so bad if this group makes a bad decision than it would be
if I were making this decision solely by myself and I was solely responsible for it. Now obviously,
everybody in the group isn’t sitting around thinking like that exactly, but that’s what
ends up happening in people’s minds.

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