Often times, groups tend to make more extreme decisions than individuals normally would. While this phenomenon known as group think occurs for a variety of reasons, one is the illusion of invulnerability, members of the group begin to have such a great amount of optimism that they lose sight of the potential negative consequences. When group members show signs of illusion of invulnerability, the decision the group makes is most likely more extreme than is logical With everyone’s supposed support, the illusion continues to persist and ultimately wins.
I was recently part of a group that began to be influenced by the illusion of invulnerability. My roommates and I were going on a road trip to a wedding. The day we planned to leave, the check battery light appeared on the car. My roommate and I were driving back to our apartment from getting gas when it initially came on. Together, we decided it would be a better idea to go get it looked at than to risk anything happening on the trip. When we got back to the apartment to pick up our other roommates and told them the situation, we all decided to take the car into the shop. The mechanic told us that the car needed a new battery, and that it would take an hour or two to install. Considering that we were all anxious to hit the road, one roommate asked if I had an problems with starting the car or other things the battery is of use for. I replied no. Suddenly, everyone took their turn, stating that we should not get the battery replaced right now. Surely it would last the weekend if I have yet to have issues with it. At the very least, we should get a second opinion. Our attitude shifted from wanting nothing less than to get the battery fixed prior to starting the road trip to wanting nothing less than to get on the road that instant.
The attitude shift is an example of my roommates and I falling subject to the illusion of invulnerability. When it was just one roommate and I, we were confident that the right decision was to fix things before leaving for the road trip. Even the remaining two roommates agreed, until we found out how far behind the fix would put us in relation to our goal time. It only took one roommate’s opinion to sway the rest of us. We had completely lost sight of the potential consequences of not getting the battery fixed. If the battery gave out at any point in the road trip, we would not have had many options to replace it until we returned to Utah. However, that scenario seemed to never cross anyone’s mind as we were so eager to forget about the battery. Thus, we were under an illusion of invulnerability.