Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Notion of 'group think' questioned

Date:
March 25, 2010
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
A new book questions the notion of "group think" -- a common psychological phenomenon -- that has been used to explain some of the extreme things people do once they are within the confines of a group. The author rejects the popular idea that groups tend to have a mind of their own and says the notion of a collective mind is problematic.

A University of Alberta researcher is questioning the notion of "group think" -- a common psychological phenomenon -- that has been used to explain some of the extreme things people do once they are within the confines of a group. Rob Wilson, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, rejects the popular idea that groups tend to have a mind of their own and says the notion of a collective mind is problematic.

Related Articles


"Groups are not thinking entities and do not share a collective consciousness," Wilson said. "The mind does not begin or end in the skull, but it's still the mind of the individual. It is individual minds, not group minds, that exists. The idea of group minds [is] either an ontological extravagance or an outright mystery."

In addition to arguing that groups don't have minds, Wilson says also in a recently published book, Boundaries of the Mind, that groups can have positive effects on people by helping them overcome challenges in their lives. He says groups (and by his definition "group" can mean two people) can play a key role in augmenting the cognitive abilities of individuals suffering from certain diseases, and could help those trying to lose weight.

"If someone is suffering from a degenerative disease and they're with a lifelong partner, they can remember things they couldn't otherwise recall, partly because they need their partner's support to compensate for their deficits, for example," Wilson said. "Likewise, someone in a dieting class would be able to regiment themselves and stick to a plan that's more demanding, more readily if they're in a group that's doing the same thing. They get reinforcement from their group."

And Wilson says that in each instance, it is the individual doing the thinking and that the group acts as an extended cognitive system -- an extension of the mind -- that enhances the cognitive abilities of the individual members in a group.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Notion of 'group think' questioned." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100325091436.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2010, March 25). Notion of 'group think' questioned. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100325091436.htm
University of Alberta. "Notion of 'group think' questioned." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100325091436.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Excuses, Excuses: Weirdest Reasons People Give For Tardiness

Excuses, Excuses: Weirdest Reasons People Give For Tardiness

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) CareerBuilder surveyed around 5,000 workers and human resources managers nationwide to compile a list of strange excuses employees used when tardy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak that began at Disneyland and has now infected more than 90 people. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) President Obama is expected to speak with drugmakers Friday about his Precision Medicine Initiative first introduced last week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Forced To Obey Law, Changes U.K. Privacy Policy

Google Forced To Obey Law, Changes U.K. Privacy Policy

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) Google has agreed to make its privacy policy more transparent in compliance with a U.K. law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins