Of general interest
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when a group forms a quick opinion that matches the group consensus, rather than critically evaluating the information. Mass hysteria can be seen as an extreme example of groupthink.Groupthink seems to occur most often when a respected or persuasive leader is present, inspiring members to agree with their opinion.
The History of Groupthink
Groupthink is most often associated with business, politics, and policymaking, but it also relates to the psychology of collective phobias and mass hysteria.The term "groupthink" was coined in the early 1970s by psychologist Irving L. Janis.1 In 1972, Janis published his book Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes.2
Janis defines "groupthink" as "a psychological drive for consensus at any cost that suppresses dissent and appraisal of alternatives in cohesive decision-making groups."
Janis identified eight symptoms of groupthink, including illusions of invulnerability, unquestioned beliefs, rationalizing, stereotyping, self-censorship, "mind guards," illusions of unanimity, and direct to pressure.
Groupthink and Mass HysteriaIt's believed that groupthink increases as group cohesiveness increases, which may help explain the psychological phenomenon of mass hysteria.4 Also known as epidemic hysteria, mass psychogenic illness, and mass sociogenic illness, mass hysteria is a "a constellation of symptoms suggestive of organic illness, but without an identifiable cause, that occurs between two or more people who share beliefs related to those symptoms," according to a 1997 review of research by The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. It is "seen as a social phenomenon involving otherwise healthy people."5
Some psychologists believe mass hysteria is a form of groupthink. In cases of mass hysteria, the group members all develop a common fear that often spirals into a panic.
And out of their minds shoppers in some stores- who think they have some inherent right to abuse others- I'm thinking about New York and a despicable video that I regret viewing a few weeks back.The group members feed off each other's emotional reactions, causing the panic to escalate. The Salem witch trials and the panic over the War of the Worlds radio broadcast can be viewed as examples of mass hysteria related to groupthink.
Oddly enough the War of the Worlds was mentioned months ago in this post from Friday March 13/20 : Corona Pandemic Hysteria = Global Psychological Operation??
Groupthink in Everyday LivingBeyond causing mass hysteria, groupthink can discourage independent thinking in both school and the workplace.