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Lecture

Chapter 12 - Groups.doc

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 215
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John Lydon

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Chapter Twelve Groups The Nature and Purpose of Group Living • the advantages that humans receive from group living are not well known, as other animal species pursue successfully both solitary and group lifestyles ◦ protection from predators ◦ efficiency in acquiring food ◦ assistance with rearing children ◦ defense against human aggressors • group – collection of individuals who have relations to one another that make them interdependent to significant degree Social Facilitation • what effect does the presence of other people have on human performance? Initial Research • Norman Triplett, 1898 ◦ social facilitation – initially a term for enhanced performance in the presence of others; now a broader term for the effect (positive or negative) of the presence of others on performance ▪ the presence of others seems to facilitate human performance ▪ the same effects are obtained when others are present but not necessarily doing the same task ▪ the same effects are also observed in a vast number of animal species ◦ exceptions: ▪ the presence of others seems to inhibit performance on arithmetic problems, memory tasks, and maze learning • this has also been found in other species Resolving the Contradictions • study of the effects of the presence of others on performance Zajonc's Theory • the presence of others tends to facilitate performance on simple or well-learned tasks, but it hinders the performance on novel or difficult tasks • three components ◦ the mere presence of others makes a person more aroused ▪ other people are dynamic and unpredictable stimuli, capable of doing almost anything at any time ▪ we need to be alert in their presence so we can react to what they might do ◦ arousal tends to make a person more rigid, in the sense that the person becomes even more inclined to do what he/she was already inclined to do ▪ makes a person more likely to make a • dominant response – in an individual's hierarchy of responses, the response he or she is most likely to make ◦ links increase in dominant response tendencies to the facilitation of simple tasks and the inhibition of complex tasks ▪ for easy/well learned tasks, the dominant response is likely to be the correct response • presence of others facilitates the correct response and improves performance ▪ for difficult/ novel tasks, the dominant response is unlikely to be the correct response • presence of others facilitates an incorrect response and hinders performance Testing the Theory • the theory has held up extremely well • Zajonc tested this theory on cockroaches ◦ presence of another cockroach facilitated performance on the simple maze but hindered performance on the complex maze Coacting vs. Mere Presence • to show that it was the mere presence of the other cockroaches affecting the roach's performance, Zajonc put the observing cockroaches behind a plexiglass barrier ◦ same results occurred as the original experiment/ hypothesis Mere Presence or EvaluationApprehension? • one element of Zajonc's theory is disputed: ◦ whether it is the mere presence of other people that increases arousal • evaluation apprehension – people's concern about how they might appear in the eyes of others – that is, about being evaluated Testing for Evaluation Apprehension • to evaluate for evaluation apprehension, there must be three conditions: ◦ one with the subject performing alone ◦ one with the subject performing in front of an evaluative audience ◦ one with the subject performing in front of an audience that cannot evaluate a subject's performance • Cottrell et al., 1968 ◦ pseudo-recognition test ◦ participants weren't actually shown any of the original words in the replication, so were therefore forced to guess on every trial ◦ individuals performing in front of an evaluative audience made more dominant responses than those performing alone ◦ individuals performing in front of a blindfolded audience did not make more dominant responses than those performing alone ◦ concern is for others as a source of evaluation, not their mere presence Testing for Mere Presence • the “alone” condition in Cottrell's experiment may not have been a “true” alone condition at all, seeing as the participants knew they were taking part in an experiment • Markus, 1978 ◦ managed to create a true “alone” condition ◦ participants took off and put on their own shoes more quickly when in the presence of another person ◦ participants took off and put on the experimenter's items more slowly when in the presence of another person Further Perspectives on Social Facilitation • distraction-conflict theory – a theory based on the idea that being aware of another person's presence creates a conflict between attending to that person and attending to the task at hand, and that this attentional conflict is arousing and produces social facilitation effects • social loafing – the tendency to exert less effort when working on a group task in which individual contribution cannot be monitored PracticalApplications • how to study ◦ study alone when material is unfamiliar and must be committed to memory • workspace design ◦ if tasks to be completed are simple or repetitive, then the setting should be designed so that people are in contact with one another Group Decision Making • based on the assumption that decisions made by groups are typically superior to those made by individuals • although arriving at the best possible solution to a problem may be the group's most important goal, individuals may not share this goal ◦ individuals may be concerned with being judged or hurting someone's feelings Groupthink • groupthink – a kind of faulty thinking by highly cohesive groups in which the critical scrutiny that should be devoted to the issues at hand is subverted by social pressures to reach consensus Symptoms and Sources of Groupthink • groupthink is a kind of psychological diminishment characterized by ◦ a shallow examination of information ◦ a narrow consideration of alternatives ◦ a sense of invulnerability and moral superiority ▪ may ignore or reject alternative viewpoints, discourage others from coming forward with other ideas and assessments, and end up believing in the wisdom and moral correctness of their proposed solutions • self-censorship – the tendency to withhold information or opinions in group discussions Preventing Groupthink • freer, more liberal discussion may take place if the leader refrains from making his/her preferences known at the beginning • making sure the group is not cut off from outside input • designate one person in the group to play devil's advocate ◦ given every incentive to name any and all flaws in a group's proposed plan of action Groupthink in Other Cultures • the drive toward harmony is greater in EastAsian cultures than in Western cultures ◦ managers typically discuss matters of importance with each member bfore a large meeting is called and held as a formality ▪ feedback is received from the individual employees ▪ groupthink is avoided at the large meeting Group Decisions: Risky or Conservative? • risky shift – the tendency for groups to make riskier decisions than individuals would ◦ some follow-up studies show that groups are more “risk-averse” than individuals ▪ depends on the context and construal of the proposed situation Group Polarization • group polarization – the tendency for group decisions to be more extreme than those made by individuals ◦ whatever way the individuals are leaning, group discussion tends to make them lean further in that direction ▪ even when they discuss issues that have nothing to do with risk The “PersuasiveArguments” Account • when people are predisposed to take chances in a situation, they can think of more and better examples in favor of risk • when people are predisposed to play it safe in a situation, they can think of more and better arguments that favor caution • pool of arguments from a group – tend to be skewed in whatever way the group was predisposed to lean The “Social Comparison” Interpretation • the human tendency to compare ourselves with everyone else leads to group polarization • most people think they are more at risk than the average person when considering an issue for which people are inclined to be cautious • when evaluating an issue for which people are inclined to take risks, people ar elikely to think that they are more tolerant of risk than the average person Valuing Risk • why do group members tend to lean so often in the risky direction? ◦ The high value americans place on risk is assumed to be a result of the broader culture of the country ▪ capitalism – requires active encouragement of risk and a willingness to take on the possibility of failure ◦ in studies conducted in Uganda and Liberia, recommendations tended to be cautious and did not become riskier after group discussion Polarization in Modern Life • most issues are split down the middle b/w risk and caution– contentious public policy issues • when people from these groups come to meet together, they typically aggregate in groups of like-minded individuals ◦ there is no “devil's advocate” • heterogeneous groups are the most efficient groups, as groups tend to talk about the information they share; a less similar group will have more opportunity to expand their ideas • contemporary life may encourage dialogue primarily between like-minded individuals ◦ this not only reinforces beliefs in an individual, it reinforces them Leadership and Power • social hierarchies are a natural part of group life, as are leaders and people who are led ◦ having leaders helps solve some of the problems inherent in group living ▪ the allocation of resources/ rules for dividing up resources • although maybe not fair, necessary ▪ coordinating individual behaviors Who Becomes a Leader? • As people rise in socioeconomic status (SES),
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