October 16 , 2012
Chapter 4: Sport Psychology Interventions
Prologue: What is a group?
Three definitions: types of groups
1. Two or more people in the same place at the same time (e.g., strangers waiting for a bus)
No interaction or communication
An “aggregate” or “collective” (or “non-social group”)
2. Two or more people who influence each other (not much interaction or communication)
A “minimal group” (e.g., wave at a baseball game or national anthem
playing and everybody stands)
3. A “social group”: Two or more people who influence each other through social
Interact, communicate, make decisions, have shared goals.
Part 1: Social Facilitation: How are we influenced by the mere presence of others?
A. Norman Triplett (1898)
1. Cyclists who competed with each other were faster than cyclists who competed
2. The presence of others facilitates performance?
3. Conducted experiment where kids wound string on a fishing wheel as fast as they
could. Either alone or with other kids winding string.
Kids wind string faster in the presence of other kids who were winding
string when alone
The presence of others releases others releases energy (“dynamogism”)
that facilitates performance
B. Establishing the generality of the facilitation effect. Occurs with:
“Coactors” (who perform the same task)
Others who are merely present (an audience)
Other physical tasks (e.g., lifting weights; shooting pool) AND
Cognitive tasks (simple math problems learning word associations, naming
People even write their signature faster when others are present!
BUT, sometime the presence of others inhibits performance (class presentations).
C. Zajonc (1965) and the Yerkes-Dodson Law “Physiological arousal facilitates the dominant response
“Dominant” response is “most likely” response
On easy tasks that are well learned, dominant response is correct
Arousal should facilitate performance
On difficult tasks that are not well learned, dominant response is
Arousal should inhibit performance.
The presence of others is a source of physiologica arousal: Should
facilitate performance on easy tasks and inhibit performance of difficult
The Social Facilitation Effect
A research example: Pool players (% of shots)
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 other arousing
Evaluation apprehension (they make us anxious)
If they’re blindfolded (can’t evaluate us), social facilitation (SF) is less
Others are distracting (creates arousal). Why?