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What is group polarization and how does it impact social decision making?

Group polarization is the phenomenon where group discussions lead to more extreme opinions and decisions.

When individuals join a group, they tend to conform to the group's norms and values. This can lead to group polarization, where individuals' opinions become more extreme after group discussion. This occurs because group members tend to seek out information that supports their existing views and ignore information that contradicts them. As a result, the group's opinions become more extreme than the individual members' opinions.

Group polarization can have a significant impact on social decision making. It can lead to risky and extreme decisions, as group members become more confident in their beliefs and less likely to consider alternative viewpoints. Group polarization can also lead to the formation of extremist groups, where members become more radicalized over time.

To mitigate the negative effects of group polarization, it is important to encourage open and respectful discussion within groups. Group leaders should actively seek out and consider alternative viewpoints, and encourage group members to do the same. By promoting diversity of thought and encouraging critical thinking, group polarization can be mitigated and social decision making can be improved.

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