A mindguard, according to groupthink theory, is a member of a group who serves as an informational filter, providing limited information to the group and, consciously or subconsciously, utilizing a variety of strategies to control dissent and to direct the decision-making process toward a specific, limited range of possibilities. The presence of mindguards within a group is one of eight main "symptoms" of groupthink identified by its original theorist, Irving Janis. Multiple mindguards are frequently present in groupthink situations.
The techniques utilized, consciously or subconsciously, by mindguards include:
Mindguards exist in a variety of group settings. They are not always easy to identify, which adds to the difficulty in countering the phenomenon.