False consensus is a cognitive bias that occurs when individuals overestimate the extent to which others share their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. This bias is particularly prevalent in group decision-making contexts, where individuals may assume that their own opinions are more widely held than they actually are.
One of the key drivers of false consensus is the human tendency to rely on our own experiences and perspectives when making judgments about the world around us. When we are faced with a decision, we tend to assume that others will see things in the same way that we do, and that our own opinions are therefore likely to be representative of the group as a whole.
The problem with this assumption is that it can lead to a lack of diversity in group decision-making. When individuals believe that their own opinions are widely shared, they are less likely to consider alternative perspectives or to seek out dissenting voices. This can result in group decisions that are overly homogenous and that fail to take into account the full range of possible viewpoints.
False consensus can also lead to group polarization, where the opinions of individuals within a group become more extreme over time. This occurs because individuals with similar beliefs tend to reinforce each other's views, while dissenting voices are marginalized. This can lead to group decisions that are more extreme and less nuanced than they would be if a more diverse range of perspectives were taken into account.