In social psychology and criminology, groupthink is a powerful motivator behind people’s behaviors and explains a lot of problematic thinking in group settings. To get a better understand of how groupthink works, examine a case study and explore how groupthink influences behavior in the scenario.
Choose 1 of these 3 examples of groupthink or select an instructor-approved topic:
- United States Capital Attack 2021
- Pearl Harbor (pg. 435 in textbook)
- Bay of Pigs (pg. 435 in textbook)
- Vietnam War (pg. 435 in textbook)
- What social psychology principles can you identify in the historical event you chose?
- How did groupthink occur in your historical scenario?
- What was the prevailing group thinking during the situation?
- Who was the group?
- What were the negative outcomes related to groupthink?
- How does groupthink turn criminal, especially in the historical event you chose?
Pearl Harbor. In the weeks before the December 1941 attack that brought the United States into World War II, military commanders in Hawaii received a stream of information about Japan’s preparations for an attack on the United States somewhere in the Pacific. Military intelligence then lost radio contact with Japanese aircraft carriers, which had begun moving straight for Hawaii. Air reconnaissance could have spotted the carriers or at least provided a few minutes’ warning. But complacent commanders decided against such precautions. The result: No alert was sounded until the attack on a virtually defenseless base was under way. The loss: 18 ships, 170 planes, and 2,400 lives.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion. In 1961, President John Kennedy and his advisers tried to overthrow Fidel Castro by invading Cuba with 1,400 CIA-trained Cuban exiles. Nearly all the invaders were soon killed or captured, the United States was humiliated, and Cuba allied itself more closely with the former U.S.S.R. After learning the outcome, Kennedy wondered aloud, “How could we have been so stupid?
”The Vietnam War. From 1964 to 1967, President Lyndon Johnson and his “Tuesday lunch group” of policy advisers escalated the war in Vietnam on the assumption that U.S. aerial bombardment, defoliation, and search-and-destroy missions would bring North Vietnam to the peace table with the appreciative support of the South Vietnamese populace. They continued the escalation despite warnings from government intelligence experts and nearly all U.S. allies. The resulting disaster cost more than 58,000 American and 1 million Vietnamese lives, polarized Americans, drove the president from office, and created huge budget deficits that helped fuel inflation in the 1970s.(Helpful from book)