Critical Thinking: Why Do So Many Students Fall Victim To Groupthink?


What is ironic about the western world is that so much is said about diversity and tolerance, yet only certain views are given exposure and are seen as acceptable. One thing is then said, but what is said doesn’t reflect what is actually taking place.


This is something can be observed at different universities, with a number of these institutions encouraging conformity. The outcome of this is that someone can end up going along with what other people believe as opposed to coming to their own conclusions.

Up is down and down is up

So, instead of using their time at university to develop their critical thinking skills, this will be a time when this part of them will remain undeveloped. In fact, it might not even be developed to begin with.

And, if someone doesn’t work on their critical thinking ability when they are here, when are they going to do it? One is then there to become more educated, but this can be a time when they will simply become more indoctrinated.

Another Brick in The Wall

Their need to fit in is going to be far more important than their need to grow and develop. At the same time, they can believe that they are making progress, even though they are going along to get along.

Before they started university they may have questioned things, or they may have always followed the herd, so to speak. It is then going to be completely irrelevant as to whether something is accurate or true.

Two Directions

If they don’t behave in this way, they might soon experience a fair amount of pressure from not only their fellow students, but from a number of their lecturers. Thus, if one was to go against the grain, it might feel as though they are in a war zone.

Saying something that is not seen as acceptable won’t cause them to be shot, yet something negative will take place. The only way that they will be able to stand their ground is if they were to develop a strong sense of self.

Their Biggest fear

What is likely to keep them in line is the fear of being ostracised by their tribe, with the tribe being their fellow students and lecturers. They might not be consciously aware of this; nonetheless, it can be what stops them from acting like an individual.


Due to how strong this fear is, they might even end up shaming anyone else who does have a mind of their own. They will then do whatever they can to silence whoever has the courage that they themselves lack.

Survival Mode

As their need to fit in has taken over their life and is stopping them from being able to think for themselves, it is likely to show that their reptile brain is having a big effect on them. Due to how much influence this part of them is having, it is making is hard for their intellect to exert itself.

This could be put down to the fact that they are in the early stages of their life, which is why they are unable to operate as a whole human being. However, if this was purely the result of where they are at in their development, it would mean that every other student would be the same.

The Exception to the Rule

There are bound to be a number of people who do think for themselves, being only too happy to express their views. They will only be interested in finding out what is right and what isn’t, not in doing what they can to fit in and to surrender their autonomy.

Someone like this could still have a fear of being ostracised, but being rejected by their peers might not be enough to trigger this fear. The reason why there is a difference here can be the result of what happened during their early years.

Two Experiences

When it comes to the person who is able to stick their head above the parapet, it can show that their early years were a time when they received consistent care. This would have enabled them to develop a strong sense of self, along with the ability to regulate their own emotions.

On the other hand, if someone has a strong need to fit in, it can show that their early years were a time when they received inconsistent care. This would have stopped them from being able to develop a strong sense of self, thereby preventing them from developing the ability to handle their emotions.

An Anxious Attachment Style

Perhaps someone like this spent a fair amount of time in day care, where they most likely wouldn’t have received the amount of attention that they needed. Or, they may have had a caregiver who was emotionally unavailable.

This would have been a time in their life when they experienced a fair amount of trauma, setting them up to have a strong fear of being rejected and abandoned. As an adult, they might not be aware of what took place when they were younger, nevertheless, it will still have a big effect on their life.


Being rejected by their current tribe would trigger all the pain that they experienced when they were a powerless and dependent child. Their strong need to fit in is then not going to change unless they resolve their early wounds.

If someone can relate to this, and they want to change their behaviour, they may need to reach out for external support. This can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or a healer.