So hubby, older daughter and I were having supper the other night. Younger daughter wasn’t joining us; she was hanging out with friends...
Older daughter: “Where is my sister?”
Me: “Out sharing a brain with her friends.”
Hubby and I make eye contact, smile at each other and snicker and snort because this is a longstanding joke between us. Whenever my younger daughter (a typically intelligent and well-rounded young lady) gets together with friends, she transforms into a somewhat scatterbrained, immature state. And the more friends she’s with, the worse it gets. It’s the oddest thing. Albeit highly entertaining.
Older daughter: “Oh...groupthink”
Me [stop snickering with astonished look on face]: “Groupthink? What’s that?” (Is it possible that there is an actual term for this sudden diminishing of brain capacity?)
Older daughter: “It’s a psychological phenomenon. When people get together some people’s IQs lower, creativity is diminished, decision making can produce poor results and even moral judgment can be compromised. The bigger the group, the worse it gets. Studies show that individuals almost always perform better than groups do.”
Me smiling at daughter proudly. I should have expected this from her; she’s studying psychology, after all.
Me to hubby: “So even though we joke around, we are onto something.”
Hubby: “Yes. I told you they share a brain. And the more of them there are, the lower the percentage of brain capacity each one of them has.”
Hubby and I resume snickering and snorting, totally amused by this ‘groupthink’ discovery that explains the metamorphosis my younger daughter goes through whenever she gets together with friends.
Damn. There’s actually a psychological explanation for this.
Here is a definition about groupthink that I ran across on the internet that I found rather interesting:
A good way to define this term is to tell you how Irving Janus (the main researcher on this topic) describes it. Janus (1972) said that groupthink is "a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures."
Essentially, people within a group become so consumed with the group, maintaining group cohesiveness, and doing what is important for the group that they themselves lose their ability to think independently and make good, sound judgments. There are quite a few symptoms and causes of groupthink, but it is important to know what groupthink is and that it has been used to explain a variety of tragic events throughout history such as mass suicides, poor political decisions, riots, and more. [Source]
And here is a very fascinating article in the New York Times written by none other than Susan Cain, the author of the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”:
The Rise of the New Groupthink