group polarization

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The tendency for involvement in a group to cause the attitudes and opinions of the group members to become more extreme, in the direction of the predominant attitudes and opinions in the group. The phenomenon is explained by collective involvement and group participation making salient the group norms (1), amplifying normative individual attitudes and opinions and causing them to shift even further in the direction of the group norms. The concept was introduced in 1969 by the Romanian-born French social psychologist Serge Moscovici (born 1920) and the Italian-born Canadian social psychologist Marisa Zavalloni (born 1929), who provided evidence, for example, that the generally favourable attitudes of French students towards de Gaulle became even more positive, on average, and their generally hostile attitudes towards Americans became even more hostile, following group discussion. See also risky shift, social influence.

Subjects: Psychology.

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