Psychology applied to sports.
Behavior in groups.
What is a group?
no single definition.
Three definitions: Types of group
1. two or more ppl on the same place at the same time. ex. strangers waiting for the
bus. ppl don’t have to interact w each other or communicating. an aggregate ( or non-
2. two or more ppl who influence each other (not much interaction or communication but
they still influence each other.a minimal group (e.g. wave at baseball game when every-
body stands for a certain star. bus ex. can become this group with one of the member
will start talking or fall)
3. a social group: two or more ppl who influence each other through social interaction.
they interact, communicate, make decisions, have shared goals.
Social facilitation: How are we influenced by the mere presence of others?
A. Normal Tripllet (1898)
-cyclist who competed w each other were faster than cyclist who compited alone
against the clock.
-the presence of others facilitates perfomance?
-experiment: brought children into the room. the children were either alone or they were
in the presence of others who were winding streams. kids wind string faster in the pres-
ence of other kids who were winding string than when alone.
-the presence of others releases energy (dynamogism) that facilitates perfomance.
B. Establishing the generality of the facilitation effect. Occurs with:
-coactors ( who perform the same task)
-other who are merely present (an audience)
-other physical tasks (e.g. lifting weights; shooting pool) AND
-cognitive tasks (simple math problems, learning word assosiations, naming colors)
-ppl even write their signature faster when others are present!
-BUT sometimes the presence of others inhibits perfomance (class presentation)
C. Zajonc (1965) and the Yerkes-Dodson Law
-psychological arousal facilitates the dominant response
-dominant response is most likely response ( if first word with salt is S... means S is a
-on easy tasks, dominant response is correct (physiological arousal should facilitate
perfomance and the presence of others will help here too).
-on difficult tasks, dom response is incorrect. arousal should inhibit perfomance.
-the presence of others is a source of physiological arousal: should facilitate perf on
easy tasks and inhibit perfomance on difficult tasks. The social facilitation Effect
Easy well leaned tasks ( solving math problems, signiture) but not complex tasks.
A research example: Pool Players (% of shots)
Experienced 70% 80%
Novice 36% 25%
presence of others brings phys. arousal and dominant respond
a review of 241 studies involving almost 24000 participants: the social facilitation effect
D. why is the presnce of others arousing?
1. Evaluation apprehension ( they make us anxious, nervous, bc we know they might
evaluate us). it facilitaes a dominant responds.
-if they are blindfolded (can’t evaluate us), SF is less likely.
2. Others are distracting ( creates ph. arousal) why? we experience attention conflict (fo-
cus on audience or task?--> arousal). any distracting stimulus should produce a ph.
-non social stimuli ( loud noises, flashing lights) show same effect as presence of oth-
ers. There’s nothing uniquely social about social facilitation!
3. Zajonc: the mere presence of others makes us more alert ( or vigilant) b/c they might
do smth that we have to respond to. This alertness produces arousal (which facilitates
the dominant response).
-the cockroach study. some of them are easy Maze ( straight line with the full box on
the top.it measure the time for cockroach to get to the box with the straight line) and dif-
ficult Maze. Alone for the easy it took 40 sec. for the difficult it took 110. with the other
visible cockroaches (audience) Easy took 30 sec and difficult 130 seconds. Chicken,
rats, ants showed the same results in the same experiments. The problem that the pres-
ence of other causes to think that they were evaluated, or we can be more visual.