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Lecture 4

Psychology 2990A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Social Facilitation, Social Loafing, Cockroach

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Doug Hazlewood

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Psychology Applied to Sports: Ch. 4: Sport Psychology Interventions
Today’s Lecture: Behaviour in Groups:
1. Social facilitation: the mere presence of others.
2. Social loafing: many hands make work light.
3. Group cohesion: the glue that binds us.
Prologue: What is a group?
3 definitions (3 types of groups):
1. 2 or more people in the same place at the same time (e.g. strangers waiting for a bus).
oNo interaction or communication.
An “aggregate” or “collective” (a non-social group).
2. 2 or more people who influence each other (not much interaction or communication).
oA “minimal group” (e.g. wave at baseball game).
3. A “social group”: 2 or more people who influence each other through social interaction.
oInteract, communicate, make decisions, have shared goals.
Part 1: Social Facilitation: How are we influenced by the mere presence of others?
A. Norman Triplet (1898)
Cyclists who competed with each other raced faster than cyclists who competed alone against the clock.
The presence of others facilitates performance?
Study: kids wound string faster in the presence of other kids who were winding string than when alone.
oThe presence of others releases extra energy (“dynamogism”) that facilitates performance.
B. Establishing the generality of the facilitation effect.
Occurs with:
o“Coactors”—who perform the same task.
oOther who are merely present (as a passive audience).
oOther physical tasks (e.g. lifting weights; shooting pool etc.)
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oCognitive tasks (simple math problems, learning word associations, naming colours).
oPeople even write signatures faster when others are present.
oBUT sometimes the presence of others inhibits performance (class presentations).
C. Zajonc (1965) and the Yerkes-Dodson Law
“Physiological arousal facilitates the dominant response.”
oDominant response: response that is most likely to occur in a particular situation.
oOn easy tasks (that are well learned), dominant response is likely to be the correct response.
Arousal should facilitate performance.
oOn difficult tasks (not well learned), dominant response will most likely be incorrect.
Arousal should inhibit performance.
The presence of others is a source of arousal: should facilitate performance on easy tasks and inhibit
performance on difficult tasks.
oThe Social Facilitation Effect.
Research Example: Pool Players (% of shots):
Alone Audience
Experienced 70% 80%
Novice 36% 25%
A review of 241 studies involving almost 24,000 participants: The Social Facilitation Effect is real!
D. Why is the presence of others arousing?
1. Evaluation apprehension (others make us anxious because they might be evaluating us).
oIf they’re blindfolded (can’t evaluate us), social facilitation is less likely.
2. Others are distracting (creates arousal). Why?
oWe experience “attentional conflict”—focus on audience or task?  Arousal.
oNon-social stimuli (loud noises, flashing lights) show same effect as the presence of others. There’s
nothing uniquely “social” about social facilitation!
3. [Zajonc]: the mere presence of others makes us more “alert” (or vigilant), because they might do something
that we have to respond to. This “alertness” produces arousal (which facilitate the dominant response).
oThe “cockroach study”.
Cockroaches are “photophobic” (don’t like light).
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