Group Polarization - Choice Shifts

Choice Shifts

Group polarization and choice shifts are similar in many ways; however, they differ in one distinct way. The term group polarization is used when discussing the attitude change on the individual level, where the term choice shift is used when discussing the attitude change of a group. Myers and Lam (1976) describe choice shift as the difference between the mean of group members' pre-discussion responses and the actual group decision on an issue.

Risky and cautious shifts are both a part of a more generalized idea known as group-induced attitude polarization. Though group polarization deals mainly with risk-involving decisions and/or opinions, discussion-induced shifts have been shown to occur on several non-risk-involving levels. This suggests that a general phenomenon of choice-shifts exists apart from only risk-related decisions. Stoner found that a decision is impacted by the values behind that circumstances of the decision. The study found that situations that normally favor the more risky alternative increased risky shifts. More so, situations that normally favor the cautious alternative increased cautious shifts. These findings also show the importance of previous group shifts. Choice shifts are mainly explained by largely differing human values and how highly these values are held by an individual. According to Moscovici et al. interaction within a group and differences of opinion are necessary for group polarization to take place. While an extremist in the group may sway opinion, the shift can only occur with sufficient and proper interaction within the group. In other words, the extremist will have no impact without interaction. Also, Moscovici et al. found individual preferences to be irrelevant; it is differences of opinion which will cause the shift. This finding demonstrates how one opinion in the group will not sway the group; it is the combination of all the individual opinions that will make an impact.

Read more about this topic:  Group Polarization

Famous quotes containing the words shifts and/or choice:

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    Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924)

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    Terry Anderson, U.S. hostage. International Herald Tribune (Paris, May 6, 1992)