"Study of this effect has shown that after participating in a discussion group, members tend to advocate more extreme positions and call for riskier courses of action than individuals who did not participate in any such discussion. This phenomenon was originally coined risky shift but was found to apply to more than risk, so the replacement term choice shift has been suggested.
In addition, attitudes such as racial and sexual prejudice tend to be reduced (for already low-prejudice individuals) and inflated (for already high-prejudice individuals)
after group discussion. Group polarization has been used to explain the decision-making of a jury, particularly when considering punitive damages in a civil trial. Studies have shown that after deliberating together, mock jury members often decided on punitive damage awards that were larger or smaller than the amount any individual juror had favored prior to deliberation. The studies indicated that when the jurors favored a relatively low award, discussion would lead to an even more lenient result, while if the jury was inclined to impose a stiff penalty, discussion would make it even harsher."
Specifically referring to online groups (from wikipedia):
"Group polarization has also been found to occur with online (computer-mediated) discussions e.g. (Sia et al., 2002). In particular, research has found that group discussions conducted when discussants are in a distributed (cannot see one another) or anonymous (cannot identify one another) environment, can lead to even higher levels of group polarization compared to traditional meetings. This is attributed to the greater numbers of novel arguments generated (due to PAT) and higher incidence of one-upmanship behaviors (due to social comparison)."
So the question today is: Are we, in the bubble following blog community, prone to this? Are we immune? Why? What weaknesses in our thinking should we be aware of because of these social tendencies?