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Social Psyc Chapter 9

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PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

Social Psyc Chapter 9 How do groups influence behaviour - Most human activities are performed in a group - People play in groups, work in groups, and socialize in groups - Our well-being depends on our relationships with the people we socialize with - Understanding groups both how they influence is and what they are is important both for people in general and for the researchers who strive to deepen our understanding of groups and dynamics - Some processes that happen within a group are called intragroup processes - Processes that occur between groups of people are known as intergroup processes - The term group has also been defined as two or more people who have a common fate or some degree of interdependence, who co-exist with a social structure, or who have face-to-face or some other form of interaction - The notion of interconnectedness, or shared outcomes, is an important aspect of a group - Browns definition 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 - Single people leave the most generous tips and parties of four or more were the least generous - As the group size increases, each individual person slightly reduces the size of his or her tip, expecting that others will pick up the slack Social facilitation - In some cases, the presence of others can have a positive influence on an individuals behaviour - Phenomenon first noticed by Norman Triplett known as social facilitation - In other cases, researchers have noted that the presence of other people can also lead to poorer performance - People who perform a difficult task do more slowly in front of other people than when theyre alone - Phenomenon known as social inhibition - According to Zajoncs theory of social facilitation, the mere presence of other people increases our physiological arousal, and this arousal enhances whatever a persons dominant tendency is on a particular task - On well-learned or easy tasks, the dominant response is the correct one - On the other hand, high arousal leads to poorer performance on tasks that are difficult or less familiar - This theory explains why people perform better on some tasks in the presence of a group, compared to when theyre alone, but worse on others - Why does the presence of others lead to arousal? 1. Mere presence 2. Evaluation apprehension 3. Distraction Mere presence - One explanation for social facilitation is that the mere presence of other people is energizing - Researchers constructed two mazes: one was very simple, the other was more complex - In one condition, the cockroaches were alone as they went from one end of the maze to the other - In the other condition, they were observed by other cockroaches as they completed the maze - Cockroaches performed the simple maze faster in the presence of others than they did alone - However, the presence of other cockroaches disrupted performance on the more complex maze - Social facilitation effects for easy tasks in the presence of others are not limited to humans and cockroaches: theyve also been reported in animals - In sum, the presence of others serves as a source of arousal, which in turn causes social facilitation for easy tasks Evaluation Apprehension - Other researchers believe that social facilitation is caused by peoples concern about being evaluated by this audience - In a study by Cottrell, he asked people to pronounce various nonsense words under one of three conditions 1. Alone 2. In front of two confederates 3. In front of two confederates who were blindfolded creating a mere presence condition - People in front of two confederates who werent blindfolded were more accurate than those either alone or in the mere presence condition - This finding indicates that the presence of an evaluating audience is a stronger influence on performance than the mere presence of others in an experimental setting - Its important to note that this study might have limited generalizability to real-life situations - Unfortunately, the presence of a supportive audience can lead to worse performance on difficult or unfamiliar tasks - Students who took a math test in front of a friend felt less stress but made more errors and took longer to complete it - This research suggests that we may choke under pressure of our audiences high expectations Distraction - Another explanation for the effect of arousal on performance is that the presence of other people is distracting decreasing our ability to focus on a particular task - If were performing an easy task, this distraction isnt a problem - However, if were performing a complex task, this distraction impairs our performance Social Loafing - In group situations, when people are not individually accountable for their performance, people, or at least people from individualistic cultures, are often tempted to reduce their effort - Social loafing describes this group-produced reduction in individual output on tasks when contributions are pooled - According to the collective effort model, people are motivated to exert effort in group tasks only when they believe their distinct efforts are identifiable, that these efforts will make a difference in the groups success, and when theyll experience positive outcomes Identifiable contributions - One factor that influences social loafing is whether people believe that their own contribution will be recognized - When people socially loaf, they do it in part because they can hide in the crowd - Making their outputs identifiable decreases peoples tendency to withdraw effort in a group setting- People dont socially loaf when their own outputs will be evaluated, especially if these outputs will be compared to others outputs, or if theyll receive individual feedback about their efforts Contributions impact - Another factor that influences social loafing is whether you believe your efforts will have an impact on the groups performance in other words, if you work harder, better performance will result - People who must perform a difficult and unique task for the group dont reduce their effort, even when their individual output wont be evaluated - In this case, they feel they can make a unique and important contribution to the group effort - On the other hand, people who believe their efforts arent necessary for the success of the group tend to display less effort - People who believe their partner is capable of good performance but lazy are particularly likely to reduce their own effort - No one wants to be the sucker who does all the work while others rest - This is why many students fear group projects theyre concerned that theyll end up being the one who does all the work for the group Task importance - People are also motivated to work hard on a group task if the task is highly important to them - In cases where the task is very important, people can be highly motivated to work hard even when their own contributions wont be identifiable especially when they believe that other
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