Irving Janis

May 26 1918- November 15 1990

Background of Irving Janis:

Irving Janis, originally from Buffalo, New York, studied at the University of Chicago, and received his Ph. D. from Columbia University.  From there, having had a great reputation as a psychologist, Janis became a professor at Yale University’s Psychology Department in 1947.  Throughout his life, Janis published and edited many psychology works, including Victims of Groupthink (1972) and Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascos (1982).  He was awarded the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association in 1981.  Even after his death, from lung cancer, in 1990, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology still awarded Irving Janis as the Distinguished Scientist in 1991. 


Why Irving Janis is Important:

Irving Janis developed the idea of Groupthink.  This theory was Janis’ idea that groups who strived to maintain a solid, strong identity in their particular group often forget that task at hand.  They conform to the groups decisions without thinking of their own ideas or concerns for their group.  Janis developed "eight symptoms" causing groupthink.  Because of his eight theories, groupthink has become widely studied.