Don't be afraid to be different.
Would you believe me if I suggested that your very own opinion and perception of the world is being heavily shaped by other people? Well I'm here to inform you that it is. As humans we are deeply affected by group opinions. In some areas of life this may never be an issue and in others it can have profound negative consequences. This physiological phenomenon is referred to as groupthink.
Groupthink: a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment”. Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making. - PSYSR
Are you guilty of setting aside your personal beliefs to adopt the opinion of the group? Don't worry we all are. The belief is that we do this in the face of fear. Instead of disrupting the flow of the group or presenting an opinion that may cause the group to reject us we choose to conform. Irving Janis suggested, "groupthink tends to be the most prevalent in conditions where there is a high degree of cohesiveness, situational factors that contribute to deferring to the group (such as external threats, moral problems, difficult decisions), and structural issues (such as impartial leadership and group isolation)."
It just so happens there is an environment that we are all a part of (an assumption since you are on Steemit) where these conditions exist. A pasture where the sheep herd together even when it's against their best interest. Welcome to the world of cryptocurrency where groupthink mentality is as common as the word HODL on /r/CryptoCurrency. This is clearly not ideal as we would prefer to avoid groupthink mentality when investing and dealing with money matters. So how do you determine if the communities and crypto projects you take part in have been infiltrated by groupthink? You listen for the echo chamber.
So what do we do?
First we need to recognize whether or not we are a falling victim to groupthink. Social psychologist Irving Janis also outlined eight symptoms that are good identifiers of groupthink in action.
- Illusion of invulnerability – Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
- Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
- Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
- Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
- Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
- Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
- Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
- Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.
If you believe you are suffering from the symptoms above within a community or group you are involved in then you may want to take a step back so that you can attempt to view things objectively. Find someone outside of the community with an unbiased opinion that is willing to discuss your ideas with you and see if you get a similar response. Remember if you fail to share your evolved opinion with those who are imprisoned by the group then you are doing everyone a disservice.
Each individual possesses a conscience which to a greater or lesser degree serves to restrain the unimpeded flow of impulses destructive to others. But when he merges his person into an organizational structure, a new creature replaces autonomous man, unhindered by the limitations of individual morality, freed of humane inhibition, mindful only of the sanctions of authority. - Stanley Milgram
Within the context of Steemit I think it is important for us all to not become too attached to one community and the ideals they represent. Everyone that is here for the long haul should explore and take an active role in multiple communities, discord channels, and think tanks represented on the platform. I encourage everyone to remain critical of each others ideas before coming together to have those difficult conversations that will ultimately lead to a cross pollination of thoughts and push the platform in the right direction. Don't be a sheep. Think for yourself.
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