Why “Experts” Censor Their Views to Conform to the Consensus


Source of book image: http://thesituationist.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/irving-janis-groupthink.jpg?w=197&h=290

(p. 5) In his classic 1972 book, “Groupthink,” Irving L. Janis, the Yale psychologist, explained how panels of experts could make colossal mistakes. People on these panels, he said, are forever worrying about their personal relevance and effectiveness, and feel that if they deviate too far from the consensus, they will not be given a serious role. They self-censor personal doubts about the emerging group consensus if they cannot express these doubts in a formal way that conforms with apparent assumptions held by the group.

For the full commentary, see:
ROBERT J. SHILLER. “ECONOMIC VIEW; Challenging the Crowd in Whispers, Not Shouts.” The New York Times, SundayBusiness Section (Sun., November 2, 2008): 5.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date November 1, 2008.)

The reference for the second, and last, edition of the Janis book, is:
Janis, Irving L. Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. 2nd (pb) ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 1982.

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