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University of Toronto St. George
Jason Plaks

May 16-18 Lecture: Social Facilitation, Groups, Conformity, Obedience, Pluralistic Ignorance Social psychology the scientific study of the reciprocal influence of the individual and hisher social environment Beliefs, Feelings, Attitudes, Emotions > Behaviour > Other Ppl Beliefs, etc. < Other Ppl Social facilitation What is the difference bw working in the presence of others vs. working alone? Triplett (1897) Got 40 children to wing up fishing reels, sometimes alone, sometimes w others (which group reeled faster?) Zajonc The presence of others increases arousal (physiologically measurable) > arousal energizes youfacilitates the dominant response(the behaviour that comes most quicklyeasily given a particular stimulus). Arousal activates the thoughtsmotor responses that are the most practiced. On a well learned task, the dominant response is the correct response. On a poorly learned task, the dominant response is most likely to be incorrect. Therefore, an audienc should improve your performance on tasks that are easy for you and hamper your performance on asks that are more difficult E.g. Cockroach experiment maze (social facilitation). Cockroaches travel through easyhard maze to get food (either w or wo audience) Easy maze + audience = better performance; Hard maze + audience = worst performance Counter Arguments Cattrell evaluation apprehension performance is enhancedimpaired by others only if the others are in position to evaluate your performance (e.g. risk of failure) BUT: Schmitt Evidence against Cattrell (for Zajonc) Ex. Name typing task > alone vs. working w other person wearing blindfoldheadphones (person not in position to evaluate your typing: can determine if its the mere presence or idea of evaluation.) Results > even deafblind person present led to social facilitation *mere presence Baron distraction conflict theory Being distracted creates conflict and we have a need to investigate distractions, therefore removing some attention from the task at hand > causing www.notesolution.comconflict regarding where to direct our attention, thus increasing arousal > causing social facilitation (any distracting stimulus, including non-human) * Comparison of Social Facilitation Theories: Is it social? (Zajonc - Yes) (Cattrell - Yes) (Baron - No) Is mere presence sufficient? (Zajonc - Yes) (Cattrell No ) (Baron - No) Social Loafing when does the presence of others cause us to relax rather than get aroused? When efforts are pooled and the performance of any one individual is difficult or impossible for observers to determine. Ex. Ringerlmann: # people pulling rope: 2, 3, 8 Amount of force equivalent to: 2, 2.5, 4 = The whole is less than the sum of the parts How does social loafing occur? 2 possible explanations: 1) groups less coordinated (more interference nothing to do with individual effort), 2) people try less hard in groups Latane Told subject that they were alone or they were opart of team, but their team mates were all in separate rooms (why? To rule out interference). There were actually no teammates. Task: Screamyell as loud as they could (DV: decibel level) Results: Alone: 100% (Supposedly) 1 other person: 82% (Supposedly) 5 other ppl: 74% ? (Latane et al. very reliable; cross-cultural finding) What reduces loafing 1) Identifiability 2) Importance of task 3) Perception of own efforts necessary for successful outcome 4) Threat of punishment for poor performance (presuppose identifiability) 5) Small group 6) Group cohesiveness (degree of division of labour > clarity) Karau and Williams collective effort model : Big trade off; effort is fatiguing, but success is desired. Ppl seek to optimize the ratio bw their input and the groups output seek optimal balance. Social compensation (alternative) Ex. Can work for 1 person, or alone (knew nothing except that other person was not going to put in effort > person did well to compensate for perceived lack of effort in other). PlaksHiggins 2000 > this applied to stereotypes (person doesnt say anything but belongs to minority group believed to do poorly, e.g. women and math > same result.) Group Decision Making Who makes riskier decisions: an individual or group? (Prejudgment: groups more conservative) Stoner (1961): Risky shift (groups seemed more prone to take risks) > but, later evidence suggested opposite Moscovici: Group polarization effect : Group discussion ampligiesexaggerates initial group inclination, whether risky or conservative (leads to great extremism) What creates group polarization? (Moscovici): 1) Greater # of arguments in favour of one position 2) Information influence may solidify ideas that used to be vague (usually our ideas are very vague, therefore, very persuadable. Look to other ppl > social referencing > natural aligning with group. 3) Social categorization: clear boundaries drawn bw ingroup and outgroup (ppl have tendency to draw distinctions bw groups > exaggerate differences, even if difference dont exist. Merely hearing your own arguments augment this effect > leads to group polarization Ex. Tajfel Minimal groups distinctions trivial the act of creating groups facilitates bw group antagonism (us vs. them) Groupthink : an excessive tendency to seek agreement among group members (suboptimal; bad)
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