How Groups Intensify Decisions

Note: These questions are part of a larger data base of questions on module 20. The questions 
are selected to represent the type of question you should expect on unit exam two. You can, in fact, 
expect to see many of these very same questions on that exam. Exam questions, however, may deal 
with topics not covered in the self tests or in lectures but are discussed in your textbook. You are 
responsible for the content of your text book plus the content of lectures, interactive activities, 
& material on the web site.

---- Use these sample questions to test yourself & to practice for the test. ----

1. Investigations of the risky shift phenomenon eventually led to the conclusion that this group 
phenomenon was really a tendency for group discussion to

 • reverse the group’s original leanings.
  • accentuate group members’ initial leanings.
   • favor illusory thinking in supporting the group’s leader.
    • arouse & distract members so their self-awareness is reduced.

2. Group polarization has been found to occur in real life. During community conflicts, people 
who are ______ will increasingly associate with one another. 

 • like-minded 
  • on opposite sides 
   • normally opponents at other times 
    • less intelligent than the community average 

3. Group polarization occurs when group discussion _____ group members’ first inclinations. 

• reverses 
 • neutralizes 
  • challenges 
   • strengthens 

4. The fact that people associate mostly with others whose attitudes are similar to their own 
suggests the prevalence of naturally occurring 

 • groupthink. 
  • minority influence. 
   • social facilitation. 
    • group polarization. 

5. What underlying processes help explain the occurrence of group polarization? 

 • social comparison & self-censorship 
  • minority influence & social facilitation 
   • psychological reactance & deindividuation 
    • informational influence & normative influence 

6. The best-supported explanation of group polarization is based on 

 cognitive miser theory. 
 normative influence processes. 
 informational influence processes. 
 an expansion of groupthink theory. 

7. Research on the underlying processes producing group polarization indicates that persuasive 
arguments predominate on issues having a(n) _________ basis & social comparison predominates 
on issues having a _________ basis. 

 • personal; social 
  • emotional; factual 
   • factual; value-laden 
    • economic; psychological 

8. Groupthink can be defined as 

- a tendency to suppress dissent in the interests of group harmony. 
 - reduced self-awareness as a result of group immersion & social anonymity. 
  - a tendency to sacrifice group cohesiveness in favor of task orientation & problem focus. 
   - enhancement of problem-solving capacity as a result of several persons joining together to 
     work on the same problem. 

9. Which of the following is not one of the symptoms of groupthink? 

 • self-censorship 
  • pressure to conform 
   • the illusion of vulnerability 
    • unquestioned belief in the group’s morality 

10. Rationalization & a stereotyped view of the opponent are two symptoms of groupthink 
that have in common their effect on 

 • making group members closed-minded. 
  • overestimating the group’s might & right. 
   • pressuring the group members toward uniformity. 
    • long term polarization of the groups minority members. 

11. Once a group decides that an idea is bad, it should never revisit the idea.

•  True 
   •  False
12. Groupthink occurs in groups that have a history of conflict & disagreement.

•  True 
   •  False
13. Each of the following are negative outcomes of groupthink except:

•  Seeking expert opinion 
 •  Being highly selective 
  •  Not being critical 
   •  Few alternatives
14. It is a good idea to have the group leader offer his or her opinion during group arguments.

•  True 
   •  False
15. Group think results in impulsive decisions & the failure to look at all sides of an issue.

•  True 
   •  False
16. Group polarization refers to a groups tendency to split into opposite sides or poles & therefore fail to make a decision.

•  True 
   •  False
17. The term "groupthink" refers to the observation that

•  groups sometimes make bad decisions because they fail to challenge one another's decisions. 
 •  people who belong to any group tend to develop prejudices against all nonmembers of the group. 
  •  a group of people working together generates more ideas than the same number of peopleworking independently. 
   •  people are likely to explain their own behavior in situational terms & other people's behavior in dispositional terms.
18. People sometimes conform to normative social influence, because they

•  are moral beings. 
 •  fear social rejection. 
  •  are high self-monitors. 
   •  believe that others have information that they lack.
19. People sometimes conform to informational social influence, because

•  past experience has shown them that nonconformity will be punished. 
 •  past experience has shown them that their own ideas are inaccurate. 
  •  they believe that they can change the opinions of group members later. 
   •  of the persuasiveness of an arguments pros & cons. 
20. The "risky shift" refers to 

•  attitudes becoming polarized during a group discussion. 
 •  people undergoing deindividuation when they are members of a mob. 
  •  people behaving recklessly when ordered about by an authority figure. 
   •  the finding that group decisions are often riskier than individual decisions.

21.  In groupthink, members of the group 

•  have an illusion of invulnerability. 
 •  like to "rock the boat" ocassionally. 
  •  sometimes question the ethics of the group. 
   •  avoid stereotyping those who hold opposing viewpoints.    

22.  To prevent groupthink, members of a group should do all but which of the following?

•  Use secret ballots. 
 •  Seek outside opinions. 
  •  Discourage questions & alternate solutions. 
   •  Have the leader of the group remain impartial.   
                             Social Psychology
                               Robert C. Gates