Group Decisions, Process Loss (Social Psychology)

psychpost | 8/28/2011 11:02:00 AM
Process loss, common in politics.
It is common belief to think that a group of individuals are able to make better decisions than a single individual because there advantage in numbers. This is not always the case, groups can make worse decisions because of their size. 

Process Loss: Any aspect of group interactions that inhibits good problem solving.  The most common way for process loss to occur is when a competent member finds it difficult to disagree with the other members of the group (similar to the Asch experiment). 

Groups have a tendency to focus on information that it's members have in common, failing to share unique information.  

An social psychology experiment that illustrates the failure to share unique information is by Stasser and Titus. A group of 4 individuals were asked to make a decision about a student body candidate based on information given by the experimenter. In one condition each member was given 8 positive facts and 4 negative facts.  83% of groups in this condition favored the candidate because they believe the positives outweigh the negatives. In the other condition each member was  given 2 positive facts and 4 negative facts.  In total they had 8 positive facts but they chose to discuss the information they had in common. Groups under this condition only preferred the candidate 24% of the time. 

Group polarization is the tendency to make decisions that are more extreme than the initial inclinations of its members.  If the decision is one in which people make conservative decisions, a group would make an extremely conservative decision.  If the decision is one where people would likely take a risk, a group would make an extremely risky decision.

When making a decision a group may not consider the facts in a realistic matter if they are trying to maintain group cohesiveness. This will occur within groups that are highly cohesive, isolated from other opinions, and have leaders who are directive and make their wishes known.  This is known as groupthink, and is an extreme case of 'not rocking the boat'.  
I was not able to post as often as i would have liked to because I have been busy with summer school work at the university. This week I'll be taking my final exam for my summer class. After this week I'll have more free time and be able to post more often. 


18 responses to "Group Decisions, Process Loss (Social Psychology)"

  1. We use groupthink a lot in my discipline too. Social sciences ftw.

  2. Very illuminating

  3. Interesting

  4. At first I didn't think this would be an interesting read but it really was o; Thanks!

  5. Hah. Very true in U.S. politics these days.

  6. That him and his they in his palace burn; Following!

  7. Good read!

  8. I hate politics, Followed tho lol

  9. Governments and businesses are experts when it comes to groupthink, and when they fail are also experts at blamestorming

  10. It think this is way why medial demography is so dangerous.

  11. This short post so far exceeds the collective intelligence of the people depicted...

  12. this is havok

  13. you should look up the monkeys and bananas experiment

  14. ( Come and see - )

  15. Much better results from group thinking imo.

  16. I can see why people would think that decisions are made better when in a group. I think mainly because you can share your opinion with other people to see whether or not they like it, good post!

  17. mmm, very interesting.

  18. not gonna lie, most of this went over my head, but thanks for the post

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