Escaping groupthink: Think differently

“So much of what we think we know is based on what we have been told” —Pursuit of wonder

It is easy to forget that so much of what we believe now is simply a result of some people’s ideas that got accepted by the majority over time. They are not necessarily what everyone just accepted because they had already been thinking of the same thing, but rather what conforms to their already held beliefs and intuitions. Confirmation bias is when we accept new information based on what we already believe in.

The expert effect

Quite often, when someone well respected in general or in a field says something or makes a claim, we are usually fast to believe and accept such information. While they are mostly right, history has proven that we do have shifts in beliefs and experts being proven wrong time after time despite being accepted by their colleagues and the general public at the time.

Anti Bandwagon effect

Plato’s allegory is a good example of what happens when you challenge the general belief after being exposed. Sometimes, you don’t have to be exposed to challenge the status quo. A simple “why is this so” can lead anyone down a rabbit hole of challenging their current beliefs.

A way out

Getting out of groupthink is not always easy since we end up questioning what we believe strongly. To help, here are a few ways to escape groupthink.

  • Explore and test alternatives
  • Gather information from outside sources
  • Learn to think for yourself. Don’t just accept what society says
  • Challenge every view you already have
  • Explore the art of thinking outside the box

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Ahmed Arigbabu

Developer and user experience designer with a keen interest in cognitive and behavioral sciences, philosophy, and how things work. https://www.wonu.design