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- Main article: Choice shift
The risky shift is a concept in social psychology.
In group conditions, people with relatively moderate viewpoints tend to assume that their groupmates hold more extreme views, and to alter their own views in compensation--a phenomenon known as groupthink. This can occur simultaneously and in isolation: all group members might adjust their views to a more conservative or liberal position, thus leading to a "consensus" that is totally false. The risky shift occurs when the group collectively agrees on a course of action that is likewise more extreme than they would have made if asked individually.
Risky shift is one side of a more general phenomenon called group polarization. Depending on the initial tendencies of group members, a group discussion may lead to a more risky decision or a more conservative decision. Decisions taken by a group after discussion display more experimentation, are less conservative and are more risky than those made by individuals acting alone prior to any discussion.