Groupthink Analysis: 12 Angry Men and The Elevator Forum Discussion

F 4.1: GROUPTHINK ANALYSIS

Find examples of text group think concepts in the segment from the video segments: “12 Angry Men,” the Asch Conformity Experiment, and Jonestown. 300 words minimum. How many “symptoms of groupthink” from p. 52 can you identify? Explain each symptom you identify.

Be sure to BE CONCRETE with SPECIFIC QUOTE AND EXAMPLES. Explain why you think your chosen quote or incident reflects the concept you identified. Use the CAPCON system. Identify what video you are discussing.




BAD EXAMPLE

I watched one of the videos with a bunch of men talking. They seemed to have made up their mind before talking. That was bad. I noticed some were criticizing and pressuring other to simply go along with the majority.

BETTER EXAMPLE

I watched “12 angry men.” This was about a jury of 12 jurors debating the death penalty for the defendant. One juror was the holdout, not voting with the majority. Another applied pressure, saying something like “Come on, I have to go.” That juror was a MINDGUARD because he was “protecting the group from dissent.”

Post to reply:

MB: “12 Angry Men” shows jurors arguing with one man who does not agree with a guilty verdict. The ending of the first video shows a juror trying to get the opposing juror to agree with everyone. This is an example of PRESSURE FOR CONFORMITY. He did not have any reasoning behind wanting to vote guilty, but instead acted as if he wanted to get the sentencing over. The juror was pressuring In the second video when the juror that started the statement “You know how these people lie, it’s born in them,” was using EXCESSIVE STEREOTYPING. He went on to use multiple negative stereotypes to get the members to conform such as “these people are dangerous, they’re wild.” This is also an example of EXCESSIVE STEREOTYPING to get people to agree with him. Interesting enough, the other men began to stand around not facing him as if they were not listening, although they were still in favor of a guilty verdict. Another juror participated in SELF-CENSORSHIP which is when members refrain from critical thinking. He also acted as MINDGUARD, saying “he don’t even speak good English,” after the opposing juror made an argument about how the defendant likely did not commit the crime. Saying this, although it did not have substance, got the other group members minds off of the case the opposing juror made. I believe the same man was later called out for wanting to see the defendant die out of personal pleasure. The end of the video shows him upset about how others have now changed their minds and voted not guilty.

RS: GROUPTHINK ANALYSIS

ELEVATOR VIDEO: I have to admit, in the elevator scenario, even I would’ve started to question whether the other passengers knew some thing I didn’t about which door would open. However, I probably would have just asked if the other door was going to open on the other floors. I know many people probably would not and would simply succumb to the PRESSURE FOR CONFORMITY even though there was no verbal argument for it. I think the subjects might have also given in to the ILLUSION OF UNANIMITY. Their “silence” or changing the direction they were facing showed “consent” even though they seemed to be conflicted and confused.

12 ANGRY MEN: I found these movie clips fascinating and see many of the concepts depicted in the videos in real life nearly every day. It can be in simple things, like trying to get my kids to agree on a restaurant, or in more relevant situations like not wanting to be the one to stick up for the kid being bullied even though you know it’s the right thing to do and you feel bad for him or her. There were MINDGUARDS AND PRESSURE FOR CONFORMITY at play after the vote was taken just from wanting to hurry jury members along so everyone could see the game that night. One member kept referring to the boy on trial and “them” using EXCESSIVE STEREOTYPING and several members tried to use COLLECTIVE RATIONALIZATION. What struck me the most was the ILLUSION OF MORALITY. A boy could be sentenced to death and they barely paused to consider the verdict for an entire minute before the first vote!

ASH CONFORMITY: I can’t say I’m surprised that people might shy away from standing out in these experiments, but I’m surprised that there were so many different reasons for doing so. This clip showed the power of GROUPTHINK through PRESSURE TO CONFORM, SELF-CENSORSHIP and the ILLUSION OF UNANIMITY.

JONESTOWN: These clips were incredibly hard for me to watch (and the audio gave my chills). As a narrator mentioned, people don’t join cults. They simply find a place they feel they belong, and are accepted, and are with other like-minded individuals. They were searching for meaning and purpose and Jones was more than happy to provide that for them. He used ILLUSIONS OF INNVULNERABILITY and MORALITY to persuade them he was righteous and would “show them the way”. There was obviously CLOSE-MINDEDNESS if hundreds of people failed to see the harm in poisoning children and shooting a congressman. Jim Jones himself had to be the epitome of a MINDGUARD. I can only imagine there were several other appointed MINDGUARDS as well. It must have been a bit easier to control information to the congregation once they were all corralled in Guyana.

 
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