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Chapter 9.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2310
Andrew Robinson

Chapter 9  Most human activities are performed in a group  Intragroup processes: processes that happen within a group (focus on chapter)  Intergroup processes: processes that occur between groups of people  Rupert Brown (2000) “a group exists when two or more people define themselves as members of it and when its existence is recognized by at least one other”  Interconnectednesss, shared outcomes are important aspects of a group (spectators at a sporting event (not a group) versus fans of each team (group)) Mandatory tip for large groups: as group size increases, each individual tips less, expecting others to pick up slack (see social loafing)  Social facilitation: presence of others have a positive influence on an individuals behaviour  Social inhibition: presence of others has a negative influence on an individuals behaviour  Robert Zajonc’s theory of social facilitation is mere presence of popele increases physiological arousal and enhances the persons dominant tendency  Mere presence: One explanation for social facilitation is mere presence; simply being around people is energizing (experiment with cockroaches in a maze confirms mere presence); the presence of others is a source of arousal and causes social facilitation for easy tasks  Evaluation apprehension: another explanation for social facilitation is that people are concerned about being evaluated by the audience o Experiment: participant must pronounce nonsense words- condition 1: Participant was alone (control); condition 2: participants in front of audience (evaluation apprehension) Condition 3: participant in front of blindfolded audience (mere presence) o Participants more accurate in audience condition than in alone or mere presense; results have limited generalizability to real life situations  Presence of a supportive audience can lead to poorer performance due to “choking under pressure” because of higher expectations  Distraction is another explanation for the effect of social facilitation. Easy tasks, distraction non-issue; difficult tasks, distraction impairs performance. Ex: teenager driving alone versus with passengers; teen distracted  Social loafing is a group produced reduction in individual output on easy tasks where contributions are pooled. When people aren’t individually accountable for their performance, people are tempted to reduce effort; confirmation with studies: people made more moise alone than when in larger groups, people tip less in larger groups  Collective effort model: people are motivated to eert effort in group tasks only when their effort would be identifiable from the rest of the group. That their efforts will make a difference to the groups success, and when they’ll experience positive outcomes  Identifiable contributions: when people socially loaf they do it in part to hide in the crowd; people will not loaf if their efforts are identifiable from the groups and especially if their efforts are compared to others. Ex: working on group projects and you are identified by section, rather than having work pooled together.  Contributions’ impact: another factor that influences social loafing is if you belive your efforts will have an impact on group performance; people who must perform a difficult and unique task for the group, people who don’t believe this reduce effort  Task importance: people are also motivated to work hard of a group task if it is highly important to them or if it affects them directly or within a short time frame (the following year vs 6 years) o In cases where the task is very important, people can be motivated to work hard even when their own contirbutions wont b identifiable- especially when they believe other’s in the group aren’t going to work up to par.  Social compensation: the notion that if a project is important to you, you may work even harder to compensate for the poor performance or social loafing of others o Experiment with partners, work on a verbal problem and a math problem o People who thought their partner was male (assumed good at math), socially compensated by working on verbal problems; people who thought their partner was female (assumed good at verbal), socially compensated by working on math problem  Group cohesion refers to morale, team spirit, and solidarity of members of the group. Cohesiveness transforms individuals into groups; highly cohesive groups perform better than less cohesive one. o Robert Klassen and Lindsey Krawchuk (2009) found that cohesion affects group performance among groups of 13 year olds, but not 11 year olds.  Group polarizaiton occurs when the initial tendencies of group members become more extreme following group discussion o This process of polarization can lead to a phenomenon known as the risky shift o When people myst choose between a relatively safe choice and a risky choice, groups are much more willing to make a risky choice than are individuals who must act alone (assuming groups intial tendency is towards risk); if the group is originally inclined toward caution, the group becomes more cautious. o Hear more persuasive arguments: when one hears more persuasive arguments, repeated arguments, or points they hadn’t considered, their views can become more extreme o Group members also deliberately look for points which support their original view o Learn group norms: group polarization can also occur after discussion due to more accurately being able to assess the norms of the group; prior to group discussion there is an inaccurate understanding of group members views (in terms of position held and strength) o People also tend to want to fit in and also be better than other members of a group and thus expressing even more extreme views is a way of demonstrating that our views are strong and in the right direction. Knowing group norms also makes us more confident in our own views  Group think is another common problem with group decision-making. There is an excessive tendency among group members to seek concurrence, consensus, and unanimity, as opposed to making the best decision. Groups who group think overestimate the morality and invulnerability of the group and ignore or stifle discrepant views. This can cause some group members to hold back their views in fear of rejection by the group  Overestimating invulnerability and morality: is one of the factors that led to escalation of Vietnam war in that the beliefs that democracy was inherently better than communism, and hence Americans were bound to win the war  Closed-mindedness: is another factor that contributed to group think; group members will not listen to dissenting views from outgroup members. This leads to all outside information being dismissed as unimportant. Groups with a strong, rigid leader are at greater risk of closed-mindedness  Pressure towards uniformity is the third factor that contributes to group think; especially common among groups that are highly cohesive. Cohesiveness can hurt performance when creativity and innovative ideas are needed. o Highly cohesive groups made somewhat higher quality decisions than non cohesive groups under conditions of no threat, but much lower quality decisions under conditions of high threat o The lack of caution and the preference for risk that characterize groups that are prone to groupthink are associated with a perception of exaggerated capability  Solutions to groupthink are available as people in groups can work together to make good
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