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Group Polarization

Definition

Group polarization occurs when discussion leads a group to adopt attitudes or actions that are more extreme than the initial attitudes or actions of the individual group members. Note that group polarization can happen in the direction of either riskiness (risky shift) or conservativeness. One example is the way in which unruly mobs (e.g., lynch mobs) often commit horrendous acts of violence that no individual member would have been brash enough to attempt (the kidnapping and hanging of humans by the neck until the point of death). Another example is the way in which relief agencies often attempt and accomplish wonderful acts of benevolence that no individual group members would have been ambitious enough to deem possible and then attempt, for example, providing food, clothing, ...

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