Do group dynamics intensify our opinions?


“My direction is mine, your direction is yours” – Santosh Avvannavar

Welcome to the next article, today let’s try to explore ‘do group interaction effect good or bad?’ A concept that one would move towards their own position than coming to a consensus is termed as group polarization. This happens because of the attitudes and decisions come out in actuality. Lets take an example of group friends over a table for lunch. Few orders ‘chicken’ and remaining orders ‘egg’, the one with chicken persuade to take a bite. On the other hand people may take a bite but might stick to egg over chicken. This is likely to enhances their opinions of their initial choice! This informs us groups often make cautious or risky shift in their decision.

But why do groups polarize? This can attribute firstly to their social comparison that consists of values & beliefs and secondly risk taking attitudes or cautious more. Individuals usually conforms to their choices and line up with their choice. However this can further influence on the information that was otherwise unavailable to them earlier. This is likely to re-position on the arguments but this attitude change doesn’t come merely happen by hearing or observing but by active participation. How do we avoid group polarisation? There are numerous ways of avoiding it, firstly by bringing wide range of experience to look into the information. Secondly, research materials or handouts could be brought if ones’ opinion differs from several others. Thirdly, A group leader who could play devils advocate, by encouraging others to listen/accept the opposing members views.

Let me give an hypothetical situation. I was handling a course that had several failures after the test, as we know success does catch attention failures do! In the discussion everyone were persuading me to be considerate to pass the students. I might likely shift towards others because of the various factors or go against to break the polarization with information to prove the causes.

In nutshell, individuals need to be aware of any extreme attitude changes and the decisions that follow.

I hope we had some interesting understanding on group polarisation. In the next article we shall try to explore, what would happen to the decision that taken by group that keeps beliefs and values aside? Let’s look into this in our next article. Till then, Good day!

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