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PSYC 2120 Chapter 8.docx

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PSYC 2120
Irwin Silverman

PSYC 2120 Chapter 8: Group process What is a group? - A group consists of two or more people who interact with each other and are interdependent, in the sense that their needs and goals cause them to influence each other. - Groups have a number of benefits; in fact, there may be an innate need to belong that drives us to establish bonds with other people. - Groups tend to consist of members who are similar to one another, in part because groups have social norms that people are expected to obey. - Groups have well defined social roles, shared expectations about how people are supposed to behave. The roles that people assume in groups, and the expectations that come with those roles, are powerful determinants of people’s feelings and bahaviours in groups - Group cohesiveness, qualities of a group that bind members together and promote liking between members, is another important property of groups that influence the group’s performance How groups influence the behaviour of individuals - Simply being in the presence of other people has a number of interesting effects. When people’s individuals efforts on a task can be evaluated, the mere presence of others leads to social facilitation: their performance is enhanced on simple tasks but impaired on complex tasks. When their individual efforts cannot be evaluated, the mere presence on simple tasks leads to social loafing: performance is impaired on simple tasks but enhanced on complex tasks. - Finally the mere presence on others can lead to deindividuation, which is the loosing of normal constraints on behaviour when people are in groups, leading to an increase in impulsive and deviant acts Group decisions: Are two (or more) heads better than one? - One of the major functions of groups is to make decisions. Are groups better or worse than individuals at making decisions? It turns out that groups make better decisions than individuals if they are good at pooling ideas and listening to the expert members of the group. - Often however, process loss occurs, whereby the most expert individual is unable to sway the rest of the group - Groups often focus on the information they have in common and fail to share unique information. This latter problem can be avoided if the group knows that individual members have been assigned to specific areas of expertise. Many couples know that one member is responsible for remembering things the other is not responsible for. Consequently, they have an effective transactive memory, which is the combined memory of two
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