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Chapter 7- Group Influence From Social Psychology -Myers, Spencer, Jordan -4th ed.

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University of Waterloo
Emiko Yoshida

Chapter 7 Group InfluenceWhat is a GroupGroup two or more people who for longer than a few moments interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as usShaw argues that all groups have one thing in common their members interactGroups may exist for a number of reasons to meet a need to belong to provide information to supply rewards to accomplish goalsFor example the people on an airplane are not a group although physically together they are more of a collection of individuals than an interacting group3 types of social collective influence o Social facilitation o Social loafing o DeindividuationSocial Facilitation How Are We Affected by the Presence of OthersCoactors a group of people working simultaneously and individually on a noncompetitive taskThe Mere Presence of OthersEg Triplett noticed that cyclists times were faster when racing together than when racing alone and conducted an experiment o Children told to wind string on a fishing reel as fast as they could wound faster when they worked with coactors than when they worked aloneSocial facilitation the tendency of people to perform simple or welllearned tasks better than others are present o The strengthening of dominant prevalent likely responses owing to the presence of othersEg Zajonc wondered whether these seemingly contradictory findings could be reconciled and used one field of research to illuminate another o In this case the illumination came from a wellestablished principle in experimental psychology arousal enhances whatever response tendency is dominant o Increased arousal enhances performance on easy tasks for which the most likely dominant response is the correct one o People solve easy anagrams fastest when they are anxious o On complex tasks for which the correct answer is not dominant increased arousal promotes incorrect responding o On harder anagrams people do worse when anxiousWinding fishing reels doing simple multiplication problems and eating were all easy tasks for which the responses were well learned or naturally dominant o Having others around boosted performanceLearning new material doing a maze and solving complex math problems were more difficult tasks for which the correct responses were initially less probable o The presence of others increased the number of incorrect responses on these tasksThus arousal facilitates dominant responsesStrengthens Enhancing easy behaviour ArousalOthers present dominant responses Impairing difficult behaviour 1Crowding The Presence of Many OthersPeople do respond to others presenceBut does the presence of observers always arouse people in times of stress a comrade can be comfortingBut with others present people perspire more breathe faster tense their muscles more and have higher blood pressure and a faster heart rateEven a supportive audience may elicit poorer performance on challenging tasks o Having your family at your first piano recital likely will not boost your performanceThe effect of other people increases with number o Sometimes the arousal and selfconscious attention created by a large audience interferes even with welllearned automatic behaviours such as speakingGiven extreme pressure were vulnerable to choking stutterers tend to stutter more in front of larger audiences than when speaking to just one or two peopleBeing in a crowd also intensifies positive or negative responses o When they sit close together friendly people are liked even more and unfriendly people are disliked even more o Eg Freedman and colleagues had an accomplice listen to a humour tape or watch a movie with other subjectsWhen all sat close together the accomplice could more readily induce them to laugh and clap o Perhaps youve noticed that a class of 35 students feels warmer and livelier in a room that seats just 35 students than spread around in a room that seats 100 studentsThis occurs partly because when others are close by we are more likely to notice and join in their laugher or clapping o But crowding also enhances arousal o Eg Evans tested 10person groups either in a room 7x10 or 3x4 metersCompared to those in the large room those densely packed had higher pulse rates and blood pressure indicating arousalThough their performance on simple tasks did not suffer they made more errors on more difficult tasks o Thus crowding enhances arousal which facilitates dominant responsesWhy Are We Aroused in the Presence of OthersWhat you do well you will be energized to do best in front of others unless you become hyper aroused and selfconsciousWhat is it about other people that creates arousalEvaluation apprehension o Evaluation apprehension concern for how others are evaluating us o Eg Cottrell and his associates examined social facilitation for the pronunciation of nonsense syllables and well learned easy to pronounce syllablesThey blindfolded observers supposedly in preparation for a perception experimentIn contrast to the effect of the watching audience the mere presence of these blindfolded people did not boost wellpracticed responses o The enhancement of dominant responses is stronger when people think they are being evaluatedEg Worringham and Messick found that joggers on a jogging path sped up as they came upon a women seated on the grass if she was facing them rather than sitting with her back turned 2
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