Eight Main Symptoms of Group Think

  1. Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.
  2. Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.
  3. Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.
  4. Excessive Stereotyping:The group constructs negative sterotypes of rivals outside the group.
  5. Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.
  6. Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.
  7. Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group’s decision; silence is seen as consent.
  8. Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

Or, “Throw a rock in the air and you’ll hit someone guilty.” I had to laugh. The base is offering classes on “Group Solve.” The groups are supposed to get together to solve the problem of how to solve problems in a group, according to predefined methods that they’re supposed to hit upon randomly, with no hints from their teachers whatsoever…

(Citation: Janis, I. L. & Mann, L. (1977). Decision making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice, and commitment. New York: Free Press.)