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Leaders do not treat all the members of the team equally and maintain distinct relationships with different members Thompson, This can lead to ingroups and outgroups being formed within a team, impacting group cohesiveness. A double-edged sword, group cohesiveness can be affected by leader-member relationships and leaders should be mindful of this fact.

Studies have found that group leaders who are high in power motivation foster an atmosphere that is detrimental to group decision-making. In an experiment conducted on college students, Fodor and Smith discovered that people with low scores on power motivation shared more information with the group and also considered more options before narrowing down on a decision.

Since closed leaders establish their personal views early in the decision-making process, they reduce the discussion of more alternatives, which can also lead to the fallacies of Common information effect and Hidden Profile. Directive and promotional leaders are closed leaders who promote a particular alternative and ignore others, giving rise to groupthink symptoms and more observable defects in the group decision-making process Chen et al. When such leaders express a preferred solution early in the discussion, groups are far more likely to adopt that solution as the final group choice Leana, It has been found that an effective leader is one who has an open outlook and can don different hats, such as those of a consultant, adviser, and facilitator to meet the requirements of the situation.

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Bay of Pigs vs. Cuban Missile Crisis : This is an example of when the same group succumbed to groupthink in one account Bay of Pigs and not in the other Cuban Missile Crisis. A leader has to maintain a healthy atmosphere of divergent thinking that steers the team away from premature convergence Small, In addition to creating an environment of trust and openness, in which team members are encouraged to speak up and critique ideas and opinions without fear of being reprimanded, a leader could make use of the following best practices in order to mitigate groupthink.

The Devil's Advocate role is that of a person who takes a position for the sake of fostering argument and conflict and is one of the oldest tools that can be used to mitigate the groupthink bias. Encourage authentic dissent : Conflict in teams is not always a bad thing, especially task and process conflict For more information refer to Types of conflict. The downside of this is that dissenters are disliked and treated unfairly Greitemeyer et al. So team leaders should establish procedures to protect these alternative viewpoints Thompson, and protect minority dissenters from backlash and being relegated to outgroup status.

Use the Six Thinking Hats approach : In the early stages of problem solving, it is imperative to explore the solution space, without narrowing down too quickly. Better training of leaders in the use of experts could be vital to the decision making process Smith, The presence of an expert can reduce the insulation of the group from the outside world. Monitor team size : Team size is positively correlated with groupthink Thompson, Though there is no magic number that may work, by keeping a team lean the leader may encourage its members to speak versus conforming to popular views.

Encourage diversity : Diversity in groups often facilitates group performance and also reduces group cohesiveness, which in turn increases diverse perspectives Greitmeyer et al. But while diverse groups are good at generating more ideas, overall task performance is higher in homogeneous groups Thompson Use of sub-groups : The leader first creates sub-groups to explore opposing alternatives and then the whole group comes together to debate the options Roberto, This engenders an atmosphere of open inquiry and impartiality.

Structure discussion methods and alleviate time pressure : By sharing guidelines on methodical decision-making processes and reducing time pressure, leaders can mitigate groupthink antecedent conditions of lack of methodical principals and stress Thompson, By analyzing two consecutive decisions made by the same group of executives at National Broadcasting Company NBC Neck explored the role leadership played in enhancing groupthink in the first case and mitigating it in the second.

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The decision-making group, led by Bob Wright President of NBC , was cohesive, insulated from outside opinion, homogeneous and under stress to make the right decision. The second decision was regarding what to do with Letterman since they chose Leno for the Tonight Show. In this case all the antecedents of groupthink were present except two: leader preference for a certain outcome and group insulation.

Bob Wright maintained a neutral position and encouraged all the members to speak up and the presence of experts checked the insulation problem. This led to a thorough evaluation of a wide range of criteria and careful weighing of associated costs and risks. Analysis of the second decision yields information that proved that groupthink decision-making defects did not occur, despite the presence of some antecedents Neck, This study proves that leader behavior and the presence of experts are important factors in moderating and mitigating other existing antecedents and symptoms of Groupthink in team decision-making.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mitigating groupthink, keeping in mind that there are no fixed attributes of a group or personalities that may be causing the phenomenon, leadership can avoid the snares of groupthink by: a being mindful of the antecedents and symptoms, b taking necessary precautions to bypass them and most importantly c recognizing the role leadership plays in both enhancing and alleviating them. Ahlfinger, N. Testing the groupthink model: Effects of promotional leadership and conformity predisposition.

Social Behavior and Personality, 29 1 , Chen, Z. Groupthink: Deciding with the leader and the devil. Psychological Record, 46 4 , Courtright, J. Groupthink and communication processes: An initial investigation. Dissertation Abstracts International, A laboratory investigation of groupthink. Communication Monographs, 45 3 , Flowers, M. A laboratory test of some implications of Janis's groupthink hypothesis.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35 12 , Fodor, E. The power motive as an influence on group decision making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42 1 , The representations of the relationship within and between the common structural i. Accordingly, optimal meanings of concepts are not necessarily made from the ways students prefer to visualize the common structural and functional properties of concepts Heinich et al. Instead, students can better understand concepts, which are strongly associated with their properties more than those that are less or not associated at all Koren Such strong associations increase the likelihood of retention and the facilitation of recalling concepts Chun and Plass ; Mayer ; Mayer and Anderson This can be because of the imagery traces of verbal definitions; concepts appropriately loaded with imagery values, which are highly associated with the common structural and functional properties Danan This imagery learning generally refers to the visual learning style that can enable students to integrate the common structural and functional properties with each other through representational, referential, and associative processes Paivio Through representational processing, a stimulus can implicitly activate corresponding memories.

This cross-activation refers to the referential processing through which the associative processes may implicitly evoke many different images and words from the one intended Rieber However, human learning can occur more easily than without the interactions between referential and associative processes Koren Learning these concepts through the associative processes can be easier than without these associations Mayer Therefore, conceptual learning can become more robust if it involves implicit representational, referential, and associative processes Mayer and Anderson , because they can assist students in interpreting, making meaning, and in comprehending insights into their educational experiences Paivio The role of these unconscious processes is also readily observable in learning native languages Chomsky ; Keenan et al.

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However, these unconscious processes might have some inhibitory effects on conscious learning processes by evoking-task irrelevant thoughts and leading students to devote their available working memory capacity to processing these thoughts. Unconscious processing can bring not only a mark of past experiences, but also evaded or forgotten thoughts, into current emotional states, behavioural tendencies, flow of thoughts, and into learning processes Haggerty et al.

A series of studies on the use of working memory demonstrated that negative emotions e. Similar evidence related to motivational factors of academic achievements indicated that the striving of students for the avoidance of undesirable consequences of learning or of academic task performance triggered disruptive thoughts, such as those of failure or of appearing incompetent, increased anxiety levels, and, thus, diverted their attention away from the demands of the task Pekrun et al.

However, such evidence can be very reliable and valid only if a detrimental effect of unconscious processing is detected or identified apart from the effect of conscious processing. Similarly, the non-detrimental effect of the unconscious on conscious learning processes needs to be carefully examined so that more evidence can be presented for the contribution of the unconscious on satisfactory learning outcomes. The inhibitory effects of unconscious processing characterize a difficult form of learning, because any information can easily be encoded, stored, and retrieved by relevant stimuli; making it difficult to regulate how and what has been learnt Anderson et al.

These influences of unconscious learning are not instantaneously and always accessible to a prompt conscious intervention Kihlstrom et al. In contrast, Aizenstein et al. However, it is not very clear how conscious learning could interfere in the kind of learning that eludes conscious awareness, particularly when one engages in emotional experiences, implicit thoughts, fantasies, and unconscious defences. Furthermore, not just thoughts, but thinking itself can be unconscious Kihlstrom , thereby causing more difficulty for the conscious interference to happen.

One of the main purposes of education is to make students cognizant of how learning occurs and how it can be developed, consciously engaging in their learning and thinking activities, to achieve a desired change in their behaviour. However, students at all levels cannot consistently learn consciously Smith Courses aimed to teach students how to process information and think consciously have not always produced durable and transferable achievements see Chiesi et al.

The scanty knowledge of learners and educators about how human learning occurs can lead to ineffectiveness in learning and teaching tasks Veenman and Beishuizen ; Zohar Even though students and educators acquire necessary knowledge and skills of what to do for optimal learning, they do not necessarily achieve this purpose; mainly due to the limited cognitive capacity for conscious processing Yuan et al. Therefore, both educators and students must rely on unconscious processing not only to encode, store, and retrieve information, but also to construct and reactivate mental representations Chen and Bargh ; Lewicki et al.

Thus, unconscious processing can compensate for the restricted capacity of conscious processing either in the absence or in the presence of conscious awareness. Moreover, consciously constructed knowledge structures can become automated as repeatedly being applied to related cognitive learning tasks Sweller et al. Once coherent knowledge structures cognitive schemata in long-term memory have been automated, students will devote less cognitive capacity to work on them Van Gog et al. However, neither novice nor advanced students can always consciously or unconsciously construct coherent knowledge structures or facilitatory mental representations to learn satisfactorily, particularly when their working memory capacity is overloaded or unnecessarily loaded.

Such a cognitive load leads to a split-attention effect on verbal and visual representations whereby students use their available cognitive capacity without making significant contribution to their learning tasks Casey ; Kalyuga et al. The overload can happen and impede the learning processes of advanced students when they are provided with redundant textual explanations for a diagram, chart, or image Sweller and Chandler The verbal explanations are not redundant for novice students, provided that the novices are presented with sufficient images corresponding to the verbal explanation simultaneously rather than separately Kalyuga ; Mayer et al.

For both novice and advanced students, removing the redundant explanations and keeping just the necessary pictorial representations can be beneficial for better learning Chandler and Sweller ; Diao and Sweller , because it is pictorial rather than textual information that facilitates the construction of coherent mental representations Kalyuga However, if the presented images or symbols to describe the corresponding text are multiple, dynamic, and interactive, the learning processes of novices can be impeded rather than improved Bodemer et al.

Reduction in the variety of visual representations can help to moderate the involvement of distinct mental representations Schnotz and Bannert and avoid the extraneous effort needed to map between the visual and verbal representations, allowing more cognitive effort to focus on deeper processing Chandler and Sweller , As a result, at the outset of information processing, unconscious mental representations can reduce the conscious effort to integrate the most part of the verbal and the visual information with each other Lewicki et al.

However, in most educational studies concerning the construction of teaching and learning models, there is little or no room for the educational implication of the facilitatory role of unconscious representation. Further studies have yet to be conducted to determine the extent to which unconscious mental representations inhibit or facilitate learning processes. Finally, the effective design and application of teaching aids require educators to better understand how to facilitate the construction of meaningful mental representations enhancing learning, mainly because learning occurs when learners actively construct the representations from provided information, and well-designed instructional materials Ifenthaler and Seel ; Mayer et al.

Forms of mental representations, such as mental models representing and communicating feelings, thoughts, ideas, and personal experiences , images, concepts, and schemata, enable individuals to process information, understanding experience and events Mayer et al. Understanding an event and solving related problems presupposes either constructing the representations of relevant features to the problem or activating appropriate schemata Ifenthaler and Seel ; Seel et al. Activating one of the forms allows a learner to integrate new information into pre-existing schemata knowledge structures stored in long-term memory.

An activated schema runs automatically and regulates information processing, a function which is vital for humans as it allows new information to be processed very quickly and enables them to adapt to their environment spontaneously Ifenthaler and Seel In activating cognitive schemata, the role of motivation, emotion, and unconscious mental representations needs to be taken into consideration Thompson This review has served to provide an insight into the perceptual, cognitive, and emotional aspects of human learning processes and outcomes, particularly into the unconscious processes largely originated from the emotional and motivational functions of the human psyche, so as to enhance the understanding of the role of unconscious functions in the mental integration of visual and verbal instructional materials.

To the aim, a set of proposals for the unconscious processes and outcomes, largely within perceptual, cognitive, social, evolutionary, educational, and psychoanalytic psychology literature, has been examined. The general consensus in the literature is that learning processes consist of interconnected perceptual, cognitive, and emotional processing stages, in which the unconscious is likely to precede the conscious.

Learning processes must have an unconscious, implicit, unintentional, intuitive, experiential, or automatic processing stage, mainly due to limited conscious processing capacity. Learning processes cannot be constantly monitored at a high level of conscious processing, particularly when students engage in a motivating emotional state. The unconscious promptly works on information patterns from the first microsecond to see, hear, taste, or to feel. Conscious processing has yet to be detected in similar performance; it may be restricted because of its nature, of the limited capacity of working memory, or of unconscious processes.

Therefore, an understanding of human learning processes should not be restricted to conscious learning. Students can mentally integrate verbal and pictorial instructional materials unconsciously. Unconscious mental representations can serve as a rapid mental integration of visual and verbal information, thereby supplying information for conscious processing. Thus, unconscious processing can compensate for the limited capacity of the conscious processes, thereby laying the foundation of human learning. Unconscious representations may consolidate conscious learning processes, if verbal and visual instructional materials are spatially integrated as a way to avoid the unnecessary use of the available visual and verbal memory capacity.

This avoidance, in turn, can facilitate mental representation or mental integration and ameliorate the challenge of teaching students to organize their learning processes. Although any psychological study concerned, even remotely, with cognitive learning processes would agree that, to some extent, the processes necessarily work unconsciously, the educational implication of unconscious processing has yet to be proposed. This review suggests further examination of the contribution of unconscious processing to teaching and learning activities, inasmuch as neither educators nor students can always consciously be aware of their teaching and learning processes.

The inhibitory role of unconscious processing in the integration of verbal and pictorial instructional materials might be examined with respect to the use of cognitive capacity, revealing whether this capacity is highly loaded by task-irrelevant thoughts, which are unconsciously brought into conscious processing. Such an examination would enhance the understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of unconscious learning processes in the mental integration of visual and verbal information.

His research interests include thinking styles, conscious and unconscious processes, emotional states, and motivational factors in relation to academic achievements. Hairul Nizam Ismail is an Associate Professor in the School of Educational Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia, where he lectures on educational psychology, cognitive psychology, thinking and reasoning, and psychological testing. His research interests include teaching strategies, problem based learning, and cognitive aspect of teaching and learning activities. Shahabuddin Hashim is a Senior Lecture in the School of Educational Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia, where he gives lectures on educational psychology and personality theories.

His research interests include personality traits, cognitive development, academic resilience, and the relation of motivational factors to teaching and learning outcomes. His research interests include teaching and learning styles, cognitive and motivational theories of learning, and mental toughness.

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