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Lecture 7

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY220H5
Professor
Virginia K Walker
Semester
Winter

Description
Group Processes-Social Influethe March 7 , 2013 Overview • Why do people join groups? • Group influence- how it affects behaviour • Group Decisions • Conflict and Cooperation What is a group? • Group: A collection of two or more people who interact with each other and are interdependent, in the sense that their needs and goals cause them to rely on each other • **important to be interacting and depend on each other** • Ex. Church groups, clubs at school, spots teams, etc Why do people join groups? • Groups help us to… • Belong- survival advantage in the past (reproduction, raise offspring, pass on genes) **need to affiliate with others** • Define who we are (i.e. self-concept and identity); roles we occupy in society and help us come up with narratives- seeing yourself as part of group means you see yourself as possessing those characteristics (i.e. belonging to cheerleading group in high school) • Groups can give us feedback in terms of who we are • Get information about ourselves through social comparisons • define who we expect to be in the future • become more involved in social change; groups help individuals become force of social change • forming a group because people share similar ideas What is the composition of a group? • Social Groups – certain aspects that make them powerful influences on other’s behaviour • Usually have between 2 and 6 members (relatively small groups) • Large numbers decreases interaction between members- easier to have interaction with each of the other members if the group is small (hard to have one on one interaction in fairly large groups) • High levels of similarity- members tend to be alike in terms of age, sex, beliefs and opinions, personality traits • Many groups attract people who are similar • Groups operate in ways that encourage similarity (i.e. promote conformity); by virtue of being in group encourages and reinforces similarity • Have clear social norms- defined by expectations of group members behaviours • Explicit and implicit rules on how to behave with each other • Have well-defined social roles • Shared expectations by group members about how particular people in the group are supposed to behave (specific to behaviour) • But, Cost to behaving inconsistently with expectations associated with those roles • May result in loss of personal identity and personality • Ex. Stanford Prison Experiment • Group cohesiveness • Qualities of a group that bind members together and promote liking among them • Something about being member of that group that keeps you bound to other group members (i.e. cultural/national identities that binds people together in collective group) • But, Concern with maintaining good relations may impair ability to make good decisions (gets in way of actually functioning of the group); i.e. don’t voice disagreement (process loss) because you don’t want to upset other group members The Presence of Others • Mere presence • Co-action: When people are in a group and working simultaneously and individually on a non- competitive task; working together, not against each other • Passive audience- not working/interacting with others but they simply watch you (passive) The Presence of Others: Social Facilitation • Triplett (1898)- one of the first psychological experiments • Cyclists’ times were faster when racing together than when racing alone • Children wound a fishing reel faster when they worked as co-actors than when alone • Social facilitation: The tendency for people to do better on simple, well-learned tasks when they are in the presence of others (tasks that are relatively simple) • Also occurs with animals- i.e. ants engage in certain behaviours much faster when they are together with other ants • Other research showed that sometimes the presence of others lead to worse performance • Robert Zajonc (1965) **arousal enhances dominant response** • New from other areas of psychology that arousal enhances/facilitates the dominant response but only in certain tasks • Dominant response: Response that is most likely to occur in a given situation (typically is the correct response because it’s easy) • Simple/well-learned tasks • dominant response is likely to be the correct response • arousal makes it more likely that you will be correct because it facilitates that you respond in the correct way • Difficult/not well-learned tasks • dominant response is likely to be the incorrect response • ***being in the presence of others arouses us, then increasing our chances of responding correctly to a situation*** • Presence of others will… • Improve performance on simple/well-learned tasks • Enhances dominant response, i.e. correct response • Impair performance on difficult/not well-learned tasks • Enhances dominant response, i.e., incorrect response • Why? • Because the presence of other increase arousal • Does the presence of others always create arousal? • Arousal increases as number of others present increases • Being in a crowd also intensifies positive and negative reactions • Why does the presence of others increase arousal? • Evaluation apprehension • Distraction • Mere presence of others can increase arousal • Evaluation apprehension- how concerned we are that others will be judging us in some way (i.e. performance) • Concern for how others are evaluating us • Dominant response is enhanced when we believe that we are being evaluated • Increase in how aroused you feel – explains why we do better in presence of others • Distraction • Distracted by thoughts of how co-actors are doing or how the audience is reacting • Distracts us from performing the task • Also trying to pay attention to non-human distractions • Ex. Bursts of light • Overloads the cognitive system causing arousal- too much stimulation The Presence of Others: Social Loafing • Presence of Others • Presence of others may relax us when we can merge into the group, i.e., when our individual performance cannot be evaluated • Social Loafing- presence of others relaxes us so we don’t necessarily try that hard so we do worse on simple tasks • The tendency for people to do worse on simple tasks, but better on complex tasks, when they are in the presence of others and their individual performance cannot be evaluated • **Being in presence of group can cause social loafing if people’s individual contributions cannot be evaluated (i.e. singing in a group, playing tug of war) • If the task is simple, we rely on others but if the task is difficult and there is incentive to perform that we work better • How to reduce social loafing • Make the task challenging, appealing (interesting), or involving (if people believe their effort will matter, they are less likely to engage in social loafing) • People perceive efforts as indispensable • Make people believe that high effort will bring rewards (i.e. offering incentives) • Form bonds between group members • Seeing someone again- future consequences of social loafing The Presence of Others: Deindividuation • Deindividuation • The loss of self-awareness (focus your attention inward, beliefs, values, morals, attitudes) and evaluation apprehension • occurs in group situations that foster anonymity and draw attention away from the individual • The loosening of normal constraints on behaviour when people are in a group, leading to an increase in impulsive and deviant acts • Why does it lead to impulsive acts? • Group size • Arousal increases with size • People are less identifiable in a larger group • makes people feel less accountable for their actions because it reduces the chances that the individual will be singled out and blamed • More likely to act according to the group’s norms as opposed to society’s norms • Physical anonymity • makes people feel less accountable for their actions because it reduces the chances that the individual will be singled out and blamed • Ex. Online communities • Arousing or distracting activities • Ex. Chanting or clapping • When people see others acting in the same way they are • Believe that others feel as they do • Reinforces their own feelings • Impulsive group action draws our attention • Reduces self-awareness • shifts people’s attention away from their moral standards • Does not always lead to negative behaviour • It depends on the group’s norms • Ex. At a party and the norm is to eat a lot Group Polarization • Risky shift phenomenon- group’s decisions collectively riskier than decision of individual member • Group’s decision is riskier than any one individual member of the group’s decision • Stoner (1961) • Group decisions can also be more risk-averse • Group Polarization: The tendency for groups to make decisions that are more extreme than the initial inclinations of the their members; extreme on negative side (risky) or extreme on positive side • Why does group polarization occur? • Informational social influence • Group discussion pools ideas • Exposure to
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