The GroupThink Bias

The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other folks do. 

Decades of research show people tend to go along with the majority view, even if that view is objectively incorrect. Now, scientists are supporting those theories with brain images. A new study in the journal Neuron shows when people hold an opinion differing from others in a group, their brains produce an error signal. A zone of the brain popularly called the "oops area" becomes extra active, while the "reward area" slows down, making us think we are too different.

The two leading theories of conformity are that people look to the group because they're unsure of what to do, and that people go along with the norm because they are afraid of being different, said Dr. Gregory Berns, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Berns' research, which he describes in the book Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently, found that brain mechanisms associated with fear and anxiety do play a part in situations where a person feels his or her opinion goes against the grain. 

Also called "Herd Behavior" and "The Bandwagon Effect" and "The Conformity Effect."

MANTRA: To act more rationally, I must not get swept up into group acting, thinking and feeling frenzies.