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PSYCH253 Lecture Notes - Group Polarization, Conflict Theories, Social Loafing

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Hilary B Bergsieker

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PSYCH253- February 25, 2013
Performance in Groups
Social Facilitation
- Tendency to do better in easy tasks than hard tasks when in front of an
audience when individual performance can be evaluated
- When in front of others it boosts physiological arousal
- This arousal enhances dominant response:
o Simple task perform well
o Difficult task- perform poorly
- Presence of others Arousal Dominant Response Easy = Better
Difficult = Worse
- Real World Example: Wedding in Right Size Church, High Def Stanford
- Playing Pool Alone or With Others
- IV: Player’s skill level (1/2 above, ½ below)
- IV: Context (1/2 observed, ½ unobserved)
- DV: Successful Shots
- Above average when unobserved did better than below average
- When observed, below average did worse and above average did better
- Real world: learning in groups, large groups = daunting
Others’ Presence: “Alternative” Ideas:
- Distraction- Conflict theory
o People are distracting; distraction causes arousal
o Others increase distraction
- Evaluation apprehension theory
o Performance changes only if others can evaluate us
o Word recognition Study
Alone: baseline performance
With 2 other Ps (Possible Evaluation): Better performance
With 2 blindfolded Ps (no evaluation): same as baseline
Social Loafing
- Tendency to do worse on simple tasks but better on complex tasks in
presence of others if our individual performance cannot be evaluated
- Anonymous
- Procedure: Ps worked on Maze, Another P worked on same task in room
- IV: Task Difficulty (1/2 did simple, ½ did complex)
- IV: Task Scoring (1/2 told score was unique, ½ score combined)
- Result was that for easy task when combined, they did not try as hard, when
task is challenging or harder, you may rise up to challenge because someone
else is depending on you.
- Ie. Olympics, don’t want to be the one person to bring everyone down
- Social loafing seems to occur consistently across various kinds of cultures
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