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Psychology 2070A/B Lecture Notes - Group Dynamics, How Can It Be (Album), Social Loafing

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Chapter 10 - Group Dynamics and Intergroup
6:51 PM
Group: two or more people who are influencing each other
Not a great definition
Collections of individuals become more "group like" when they:
Interdependent - each of them can effect the other (or their outcomes are
dependent on one another's actions)
Share a common identity (example - motorcycle group)
Have a group structure - becomes more meaningful (example - Royal
Structure: what does this mean?
1. Members have different roles - if it structured different members do
different things
1. Hierarchy - difference in well-established and structured groups, a
difference in people's status (one is usually a leader)
1. Group cohesiveness exists - cohesiveness = pressures keeping the group
TOGETHER - total sum of the pressures that are keeping people together
in a group, and can come from a number of things: the need to belong,
costs of leaving the group
-- when a group has structure it becomes more group like *
How do groups affect individual performance:
Individuals behave and perform differently in group settings
Social facilitation: individual tasks - working by yourself
Presence of individuals improve individual performance on SIMPLE task, but
impair individual performance on COMPLEX tasks
Zajonc (1965) - the presence of others increases physiologist arousal:
Innate tendency
Evaluation apprehension (with humans - anxious about being judged by
people who are watching)
Competitive motivation
*arousal from humans come from multiple sources*
What happens is.....
Physiological arousal increases the probability of the DOMINANT response
Whatever the dominant response - most likely when the individual is ALONE
When they have the presence of others this dominant response is liking to
On simple or well learned tasks - this response will usually be CORRECT
On difficult or complex tasks - the dominant response will usually be WRONG

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--> the presence of other people can either IMPROVE or IMPAIR performance,
depending on the task
Simple and well learned generally people will do better with the presence of
Complex and hard task with the presence of other people will usually do worse,
or impair their performance
Zajonc proposed that this effect should occur in ALL SPECIES that are capable
of recognizing conspecies (same species)
The cockroaches were placed in a maze box
Sometimes escape was possible by a straight line, and sometimes it was more
complex (had to turn a couple of times)
And sometimes the cockroaches were tested individually, and other times they
were with the presence of 20 cockroaches
Olfactory cues - they could SMELL that the cockroaches were in fact present
They were faster when the runway was straight then when it was complex
They were faster with the presence of others watching (significant difference)
for the straight one
BUT for the complex one - the presence of the audience made it much slower
to get out of the maze
*both improved and impaired depending on the complexity of the task and the
presence of others*(see graph)
Social loafing: group contribution

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People often reduce their efforts of a group task where their individual
contributions are probably unidentifiable
Example tug-of-war tasks (can measure how HARD each individual will pull -
and then add up to see how hard they pull as a team --> they NEVER pull as
hard with the team)
Another example - car washing
Sometimes social loafing is deliberate (I want to slack, off feeling lazy)
Sometimes it is unintentional - they DO NOT REALIZE that they are loafing
Text study - individuals were asked to shout as loud as they could - wearing
headphones, sometimes they thought others were singing or shouting - with
the presence of others they DID NOT shout as loud, they thought they did, but
in fact their output was less when there were others *
Given that people MAY NOT EVEN be aware they are doing it
1. Make individual contributions identifiable (also reduces unintentional
social loafing)
1. Make the task or group IMPORTANT - less likely to occur here
E.g.: Shepperd, 2001
- participants wrapped bubblegum in a small group for 10
- personal performance either identifable or not identifiable
- destination of gum either not mentioned or to be sent to
soldiers overseas
Either identifiable OR NOT identifiable
Destination was either not mentioned or was important
Making a task more important reduces social loafing
Social loafing is MOST likely to occur if it either unclear or not important
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