Very nice about polarisation

Polarization and why-article is taken from the site

Author: David Lacko on:

Original article here


Have you ever conducted a discussion with someone, and the man who opposed you has been unable to change his mind even when you have it rationally refuted him?

Have you ever observed a political debate and did not understand how it is possible that politicians ignore the arguments of the other party and are able to quarrel like little children? Or even that they are not able to agree on things to which they should have a similar opinion? Have you ever conducted a discussion with someone, and the man who opposed you has been unable to change his mind even when you have it rationally refuted him? Do you not understand how it is possible that the manifestations of extremism and radicalism in certain groups are slowly becoming the norm and shake your head in disbelief in reading hate comments in Internet discussions? Have you ever noticed that discussion and group decision-making does not always bring coveted results?

We attach such importance to discussion and group decision making. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk often said that “democracy means debate.” And he was undoubtedly right. The debate plays an important role in the political system, where most of the crucial things are decided. We set up various juries in hopes of dopátrají a more accurate and objektivnějšího verdict, discussing the most appropriate consensus, and in serious situations we create teams that are tasked to analyse the situation and design effective solutions. We generally believe more groups than individuals. And in doing so, this belief would be called a fundamental error.

If the introductory questions remind you of well-known situations, you may have witnessed a group polarisation that shows that discussions and group decisions do not actually work. And perhaps you have not just become witnesses, but you have succumbed to it and helped to radicalization of society. How? I will try to explain this in this article.

Group polarization

Since the merit of social psychology is the de facto influence of the group on an individual, it is logical that social psychology also dealt with the influence of the group on decision-making. The first research carried out in the 1930s Muzafer Sherif (1935) and, in the 1950s, Solomon Ash (1955), concerned Conformant and their main findings were that the individual tended to adapt to the dominant or majority Opinion of the group. Conformity itself is not enough to explain group polarization.

In the year 1959, MIT student James Stoner (1961) in his thesis noticed that people tend to post a group discussion to act riskyly than people acting individually. This phenomenon was nazvánfenoménem shift to riskiness (risky shift phenomenon; Wallai et al., 1962) and later replaced by a broader term group polarisation (group polarization; Pruitt, 1971), which was used for the first time by Serge Moscovici and Marisa Vallon (1969), who noticed that people sometimes act in group decisions more than when acting individually. People were also polarizovali, but in a different direction than the risk shift phenomenon (eg. McCauley et al., 1973, where people bet more after discussion. Group polarization over time has become one of the best scientifically proven phenomena in psychology at all (Hogg et al., 1990).

Polarisation in general is “Vyhranění, foregrounding; The polarity process, e.g. Within the social group. ” (Hartl and Elaine, 2010, p. 411) and as a result leads to dichotomy, which is “black and white thinking uninterested by a compromise by the principle of either everything or nothing. “(Hartl and Elaine, 2010, p. 101). Ergo, group polarization is the tendency of people to do in a group (or after group discussion) extreme decision than the average of the decisions of individuals before the group discussion, in terms of radicalisation of the original attitudes (Isenberg, 1986).

For Lepochopení I bring some examples. Students who have had racial prejudices before the debate, tended after discussion on more racial prejudices, and students who did not have racial prejudices have been more negatively opposed to racism after discussion (Myers and Bishop, 1970). A similar effect was demonstrated in the discussion with pacifists and Militarists (Myers and Bach, 1974) and in the discussion with feminist and nefeministicky oriented students (Myers, 1975), who, after discussion, more utvrdili in their original attitudes. Group polarisation also affects court judges in/law, where judges tend to be higher or lower than their opinion average before discussion (Isenbeg, 1986) and the judges themselves, who, after consultation in the three court Senate, proposed Extreme sentences than originally intended (Walker et al., 1973). It was found that the authoritarian judges gave more stringent penalties after the discussion, while the Neautoritářští judges suggested that the punishments were milder (Bray and Noble, 1978). During the economic game of dictator Nobel laureate Daniel Kahnemana, the teams acted more selfishly, soutěživě, suspiciously and less altruistic than individuals (Luhan et al., 2009). Group polarization is also reflected in gambling (Blascovich et al., 1973) and is subject to the company’s evaluation of employees ‘ work performance by the group, because there is greater distortion and greater subject for example. Halo effect (Palmer and Loveland, 2008).


The first explanation of group polarization was created by Michael Walla, Nathan Kogan and Daryl Bem (1962.1963, 1965), who reiterated the Stonerův experiment and became famous for the so-called. CDQ (Choice Dilemmas Questionnaire), which is a method that was used in most of the following experiments. This consisted in the fact that the Proband decided in fictitious situations where he could act either more riskyly or more cautiously and the results subsequently compared before and after the group discussion. The group polarization was explained in the context of risk shift phenomenon in such a way that people act in group decision-making risky because of diffusion of liability, therefore because people in the group feel smaller decisions for the final decision or Preservation of the group than people acting alone.

As group polarization became an attractive topic, in addition to a large number of experiments, a large number of theories were also emerging to explain the phenomenon (for cf. Pruitt, 1971) and it should be noted that there is still no consensus on what causes group polarization. During the research, two majority and still accepted theories were established: social compare theory = SCT and the theory of persvazivních arguments (persuasive arguments theory – PAT).

The SCT is based on the findings of Leona Festingera and his eponymous theory. According to SCT, people are motivated to be able to present themselves in a positive light not only in front of themselves, but also in front of their surroundings. People are constantly observing others, evaluating them and their attitudes and opinions, and transform their own attitudes accordingly. Because people tend to believe that they are above average (see Lacko, 2015), they want to be above average in their own attitudes, and therefore constantly regulate their behavior (Myers, 1978). Most people do not want to behave extremely, however, by the fact that the average polarizes, polarizes the whole group–the opinion shift is not due to the influence of several extremists (Myers and Murdoch, 1972). This phenomenon, when an individual tries to be a little better than the average group, is sometimes also called the one-upmanship or bandwagon effect (Isenberg, 1986). For the SCT demonstrates many experiments (for CF. Myers, 1982).

On the contrary, PAT is a theory that is based on the fact that one is primarily guided by the arguments raised during the discussion. In the 1980s it was accepted more than the SCT (Isenberg, 1986), as it is today I failed to trace. People enter into each discussion with a certain number of arguments and consider the arguments of the new – de facto summed up for-and counter-arguments and shape their minds based on their ratio. The new arguments are evaluated according to their validity (whether the argument seems logical, and whether it falls into the hitherto vision of the world and previous knowledge) and novelty (whether the argument brings some new and original insight into the issue) (Burnstein and Vinokur, 1978).

Although this approach seems positive at first glance, we must recognize that people choose arguments selectively, according to their usefulness (Myers and Lamm, 1975), tend to meet more often with people with similar views, and thus hear more often only Some arguments (Myers, 1982) and that better receive the same information given by people in their group than people with second opinion groups (Hogg et al., 1990). The last mentioned phenomenon is also described by František. (2007), which analyses the experiment on the positional polarization (in the original attitude polarization) executed by Lord et al. (1979), in which two values of the same study were presented to the proponents and opponents of the death penalty, one of which has the positive effect of the death penalty and the other has effect negative. People not only chose the study that certification their original sentiments, but when they were then informed of the critics of the two experiments, they saw errors only in the opposition study, and the study that certification their claims was considered flawless.

PAT has been empirically verified many times (e.g. Burstein and Vinokur, 1973; 1977; 1978; Kaplan, 1977) and its veracity are also recognised by the supporters of the SCT, but they claim that the real world has a greater influence on man by the SCT (Bishop and Myers, 1974; Myers et al., 1974; Myers and Lamm, 1975). Daniel Isenberg (1986) In his meta, he concludes that both theories are valid and that they are likely to work at the same time. It presents the thesis that while the SCT affects man immediately, PAT affects it more in future attitudes.

In addition to SCT and PAT, the theory of sebekategorizace (self-categorization theory) has recently appeared, which is based on an interesting concept of social identity theory, which was formulated by Henri Tajfelem and his disciple John Turner. According to this theory, the identity of man is divided into personal and social, and each person strives to make both identities positive. A social identity is then built by a member in certain groups (or The process of sebekategorizováníming into a specific category) and its positive insight is maintained most often by highlighting its own opinion group and reducing the value of the group of opponents (Turner and Oakes, 1986). Unlike the theories of the theory of sebekategorizace, it does not count on human beings as a closed system, which rationally calculates the arguments raised, or which is compared to others only on the basis of a consensus, but regards it as a person who It is constantly interacting with different group influences, which do not arise only during discussion, but which accompany it throughout life. I believe that it has the largest ecological validity. Even this theory has been experimentally proven and from all three theories it is able to predict the most accurate prediction (eg. Abrams et al., 1990; Hogg et al., 1990).


With group polarization is undoubtedly related to groupthink (e.g. by Myers and Bach, 1976; Myers and Lamm, 1975; Bishop and Myers, 1974), which we can understand as an extreme result of group polarization. Groupthink, most often translated into Czech as a group/skupinářského thinking syndrome, is a term for “group reasoning and decision-making characterized by conformal, noncritical acceptance of the offered viewpoint in coherent groups”, whereby ” Members strive to minimize conflicts and achieve consensus, at the price of self-censorship, suppressing their own creativity and personal responsibility, at a high level of identification with the group. ” (Hartl and Elaine, 2010, p. 327).

The term groupthink was first used by journalist William Whyte (1952), but it was made known to Irwing Janis (1971), who enjoyed it in the sense of Doublethinku, a famous neoplasm from Orwell novel 1984. His thoughts, based on analyses of such events as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the invasion of Pigs Bay or the Vietnam War, later published in his bestseller Victims of Groupthink, which in the year 1982 received significant revisions and came out under the title Groupthink: Psychological Studies of policy Decisions and Fiascoes.

I. Janis (1971) argues that Groupthinku’s victims are subject to eight basic factors, which do not only interfere with the decision-making process but affect de facto all cognitive processes. These people are subject to the illusion of invulnerability and are convinced of the congenital morality of the group, to collectively rationalise their own actions, share common stereotypes (most often on opponents), exert pressure on nonconformist members of the group, subject to the illusion Unity (or Unanimity) of the group, is characterised by a typical sebecenzura (sometimes referred to as self-censorship) and often considered to be the so-called. Mindguards (regarded as the protector of the group from outside influences that could impair integrity).

Groupthink arises (Janis, 1982; According to Výrost and Slaměník, 2008) in isolated groups with a lack of norms that have a large kohezivitu, are homogeneous and have a sense of external threat. It also arises in small groups in which there is a highly centralised management and which decide on important, risky and immediate matters (Klein and Stern, 2009). The most important prevention of groupthinku is e.g. The existence of the Devil’s attorney, a man in the group, who seeks to challenge group decisions at all costs (Janis, 1982; According to Výrost and Slaměník, 2008).

Although Janisova theory is very popular and often quoted, it is very little empirically proven, the evidence is often limited to case studies, because experiments have failed to verify many hypotheses (groupthink in laboratory conditions induces very Difficult) and many authors are entitled to identify it as defective and replace it with their own theories (Esser, 1998).

Where can polarization lead?

Group polarisation does not only destroy the discussion, the ability of a reasonable compromise, the decision of the jury or the court verdicts. It has the potential to expand into the social debate, to endanger democracy, and also to kill nejextrémnějším as a result. Some authors (eg. Myers, 1982) believe that just group polarisation had an influence on the famous Zimbardův Prison experiment, which is often given as one of the explanations of the atrocitiess that were in the Second World War. Group polarization is also typical for religious sects (and actually for religious groups in general) and political parties (Myers, 1982), further for wars, during which each party is enhanced in its truth, and for terrorist organizations for which extreme negotiations became socially desirable (Sunstein, 2002). The radicalisation of young Muslims and their addition to the Islamic State can also be explained by group polarisation (VUGT, 2015).

I believe that group polarization can be seen in the debate over the “migration crisis” over the past few months. It can be seen as evidence that the views that were previously referred to as manifestations of extremism are slowly prorůstají into the discourse of a normal person – eg. In conversion from “no” to “no and anyone who does not agree with me should be deprived of civil rights”. In order to avoid the negative consequences mentioned above, we must consider whether or not we are really subject to group polarization. We do not happen to use stereotyped thinking not only about immigrants (e.g. In the form of dehumanizovaných nicknames of the type “Čmoud” or “Invader”), but also about our opinion opponents (eg. “Traitor”, “Xenofob”, “demagogue”, “Vítač” or “Nazi”)? We do not choose selectively those arguments that we are also suitable for the price that we can contribute to the spread of hoaxes and do not ignore the arguments of the other party? We don ‘t happen to feel that our opinion group is morally at stake? We cannot afford to rely on the Lapierův paradox, which postulates that attitudes cannot predict behavior, because we can get to the point where this postulate cease to apply.

Can polarization be prevented?

There is little room for optimism in this phenomenon, because polarization seems to be an inevitable process that cannot be effectively defended. Moreover, this is enhanced by the fact that group polarisation arises without discussion only after the opinion of others (Myers and Kaplan, 1976), without the need to create an implicit product-e.g. Decision (Myers, 1982), without the necessity of physical proximity – e.g. On social networks (Sarita and Boyd, 2010) Even without an existing opposition (Myers and Bach, 1974). Furthermore, its emergence can be induced by Primingu (Ledgerwood and Chaiken, 2007) and its effect increases the anonymous environment, which is typical for online discussions (Sia et al., 2002), the interaction of the group and its own exposure (Moscovici et al., 1972), the pressure on objective Decision and high rate of group homogeneity (Moscovici and Vallon, 1969). I think that polarization increases also the Emotivita and associated “anti-intelektualizace media”, the Dunning-Kruger effect, a certain form of habituace, and especially in today’s information period, the inability to critically analyze the information received, which is on Internet Plethora.

But there is a certain solution. PAT assumes that the arguments themselves, if abound high validitou and novelty, can lead to depolarisation. Cass Sunstein (2002) also believes that not every discussion must necessarily lead to polarisation, and that depolarisation can support sudden unexpected events, compelling arguments, long-standing litigation without results and without the ability of counterparties to refute their views and It also supports the emergence of Enclaves that aim to break the homogeneity of a group (but enclaves must not be isolated from the rest of a homogeneous group). We should support minority opinions according to him, which we would theoretically prevent something that John Stuart Millve his essay on Liberty called Tyranny most.

Although the prospects are not very positive, the group polarization would not have to be an inevitable and definitive condition. In conclusion, I would therefore allow me to quote F. Koukolíka (2007), who said that “deep faith in anything turns out of reason.” And yet the reason is the strongest weapon of Homo sapiens sapiens, a man of sensible. Neodzbrojujme. Even though it is often very tempting. It could be šeredně to take revenge.

Go against the crowd

4 thoughts on “Very nice about polarisation

    1. Hi, nope… AI made it… I made this site multilingual when already many posts was here. Some of them i checked, but i’ve got no time for this right now. New posts will be translated manually, but for old ones, bad translation is better than no translation i guess… 🙂

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