Difference between Groupthink & Group Shift

What is Groupthink?

Groupthink is a term introduced by social psychologist Irving Janis in 1972, referring to a psychological phenomenon in which group members make decisions based on the pressure they receive from the group. This means that the members will set aside their personal opinions and beliefs, sometimes even keeping quiet when they believe the group’s decision is wrong, simply because they do not want to oppose the group’s idea. There are eight main symptoms of groupthink, including illusions of invulnerability, unquestioned beliefs, rationalization, stereotyping, self-censorship, mindguards, illusion of unanimity, and direct pressure.

What is Group Shift?

Group shift refers to a situation where an individual’s position within a group changes to adopt a more extreme position due to the influence of the group. This means that the individual may adopt a riskier decision in the group, even if it is different from their initial position. Social psychologists suggest that this occurs mainly because the risk is shared within the group. In group shift, conservative members become even more cautious, while aggressive members become more risk-taking. This is why psychologists point out that group shift involves adopting extreme positions. Studies on group shift emphasize that it results from the bonds created within the group, as well as the diffusion of pressure, anxiety, and responsibility among group members.

Key Takeaways

  • The main difference between groupthink and group shift is that in groupthink, individuals discard their personal views, while in group shift, individuals have the opportunity to present an extreme position of their view.
  • Both groupthink and group shift involve immense pressure from the group on the individual.
  • Group shift tends to involve more extreme positions, while groupthink often leads to conformity with the popular view.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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