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In social psychology and criminology, groupthink is a powerful motivator behind people’s behaviors and explains a lot of problematic thinking in group settings. To get a better understanding of how groupthink works, examine a case study and explore how groupthink influences behavior in the scenario.

Respond to following example: Pearl Harbor (pg. 435 in textbook)

Since groupthink is an important principle of social psychology, analyze the historical scenario carefully and identify how groupthink impacted the situation.

The issues of groupthink that may become problematic are a lack of reasoning to see different sides of an issue; the indisputable belief that the group is morally right; others involved with differing opinions are seen through stereotyping; other views within the group are shut down. Members of the group are all seen as in agreement.

Write a 600-word analysis of how groupthink occurred in the situation you chose. Address the following questions:

· What social psychology principles can you identify in the historical event you chose?

· How did groupthink occur in your historical scenario?

· What was the prevailing group thinking during the situation?

· Who was the group?

· What were the negative outcomes related to groupthink?

· How does groupthink turn criminal, especially in the historical event you chose?

Pearl Harbor (pg. 435 in textbook)

Social psychologist Irving Janis (1971, 1982) wondered whether such phenomena might help explain good and bad group decisions made by some twentieth-century American presidents and their advisers. To find out, he analyzed the decision-making procedures behind several major fiascos:

Pearl Harbor. In the weeks before the December 1941 attack that brought the United States into World War II, military commanders in Hawaii received a stream of information about Japan’s preparations for an attack on the United States somewhere in the Pacific. Military intelligence then lost radio contact with Japanese aircraft carriers, which had begun moving straight for Hawaii. Air reconnaissance could have spotted the carriers or at least provided a few minutes’ warning. But complacent commanders decided against such precautions. The result: No alert was sounded until the attack on a virtually defenseless base was under way. The loss: 18 ships, 170 planes, and 2,400 lives.

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