What Is an Example of Groupthink?

Examples of groupthink include the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State University and the war in Iraq. Groupthink is often characterized by the dehumanization of victims, a sense of invulnerability and an immoral, unethical or irrational decision making. It is most often present in groups that are not open to the public, such as small religious groups or some social activist organizations.

The 2014 case of Jerry Sandusky is an example of groupthink. Sandusky, a defensive coordinator at Penn State, was protected from prosecution for child abuse by other professionals at the university. The coaches and professionals at Penn State acted in an immoral way and put the protection of their group before the safety of others.

When a group feels as if their actions and decisions are not subject to the same laws as others, they are influenced by groupthink. In the Sandusky case, the members of the group could have protected the victims by contacting authorities, but they failed to do so in order to protect the group. Conformity of opinion among group members is common in groupthink.

Groupthink is a concept that is often applied to political decisions. For instance, the decision to invade Iraq is considered by some to be an example of groupthink because the decision was made based on an irrational decision making process. The war in Iraq was started without seeking the support of other allies, which made the war more costly in terms of finances and casualties.