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    Groupthink – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. “Groupthink” is the name for pressure to conform to the group’s views. Isn’t this similar to a problem the Sanhedrin used to face?

    groupthinkA. Definitely. In the 1970s Irving Janis developed the concept of “groupthink”, which has a clear connection with the ancient Sanhedrin.

    To avoid giving “the group” an unfair advantage, junior members expressed their views at the Sanhedrin before the seniors, obviating the pressure to conform to the arguments of the “big boys”.

    A ruling was not final so long as anyone could come to Jerusalem with new evidence. A ruling could be postponed overnight even if a verdict had apparently been reached. A unanimous verdict of guilty was always suspect.

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