The Power of the Herd (aka Groupthink)

Research Magazine has posted an interesting article on the truthfulness of respondents. One of the concepts in the article is called "the power of the herd" where respondents knowingly or unwittingly make decisions based on influence from others in the group or in order to better fit in. This concept is also knows as "groupthink," which is how we position it here at MSInteractive.

The Perception Analyzer offers many benefits in qualitative research settings and greatly reducing groupthink (or the power of the herd) is one of the most significant. Rather than asking questions and only having respondents give feedback aloud (thus immediately influencing each other), the Perception Analyzer allows each respondent to respond individually and privately before engaging in group discussion. These private responses, collected by the Perception Analyzer and made instantly available for real-time review, allows the moderator to know what each respondent really thinks before engaging the group in discussion. If the discussion doesn't map to the private responses, the moderator then has the opportunity to dig deeper and try to understand why. The reasons why someone might give one response privately and another publicly is as important (if not more so) than even their truthful response alone.