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Chapter 10

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Western University
Psychology 2070A/B
James M Olson

Chapter 10- Group Dynamics Group dynamics the social psychological study of groups and group processes Group two or more people who are interacting with one another and/or influencing one another  Instead of hard line b/w “groups” and “nongroups,” think of collections of individuals as ranging along a continuum from little/no group character to great deal of it Individual Performance and Behaviour in Group Settings Social facilitation effects of the presence of other people on individual performance, which will usually be improved performance on simple tasks and impaired performance on complex tasks o Ex. Norman Triplett children asked to wind fishing reel alone or with other child— children performed better when another child was present Dominant response the action that is most likely to occur in a situation or on a task when the individual is alone  When task is simple/practiced (i.e., driving a car) the dominant response will be correct/well-practiced, when task is complex/novel, the response will more likely be incorrect  Tendencies will be heightened by presence of audience  Presence of other people is physiologically arousing maybe b/c individual is nervous/anxious about performing in front of others and this arousal limits person’s range of attention: people can only focus on a few cues in the setting o Ex. Blascovich et al.  participants presented with two-digit numbers on a computer screen and had to figure out that they were supposed to press one key when number smaller than 68 and one key when number larger than 68—some discovered via trial and error, and performed in front of two people or alone, when allowed to practice, they performed better in front of an audience, and with no practice performed worse in front of audience than alone  Studying: if material is familiar/simple—study in library b/c presence of others narrows attention focus, but if material is complex/difficult, student should study alone b/c the library may cause them to overlook aspects of the material  Ex. Zajonc  proposed that this effect should occur in all species that are capable of recognizing conspecifics (same species), including cockroaches  Cockroaches were placed in test maze boxes  Bright light shone on them to motivate escape  Escape was possible either via a straight runway (simple task) or a more complex maze (complex task)  Cockroaches were tested alone or in the presence of 20 other cockroaches (visible through plastic walls which also contained holes to allow olfactory cues) Social Loafing Social loafing reduction of effort that people often exhibit when working in a group where individual contributions are unidentifiable o Ex. Latané et al.  participants asked to cheer blindly, when alone they cheered louder than when they thought they were cheering with others around them  Main component: anonymity—if people know their performance will be identifiable, there is no social loafing  Reducing Social Loafing: (1) Make individual contributions identifiable (2) Make the task or group important (3) Choose women as members:  Women are less likely to loaf than men Ex. Shepperd, 2001 o Participants wrapped bubblegum in a small group for 10 minutes o Personal performance either identifiable or not identifiable o Destination of gum either not mentioned or to be sent to soldiers overseas Deindividuation Deindividuation people lose their sense of personal identity and feel immersed in a group  People more likely to engage in socially undesirable behaviour  Consequences of deindividuation: o Feel unidentifiable (anonymous) o More likely to engage in “counternormative” behavior o More responsive to external cues (e.g., from the crowd)  Deindividuation can result from: o Being in a large group o Wearing clothing that hides identity o Being in a setting that minimizes individuality Diener et al.  Children told to take one candy from a bowl—anonymity produced deindividuation in the children, especially when in a group, reducing inhibitions and leading them to behave more selfishly/greedily than normal Zimbardo  Participants dressed either as guards or inmates—guards felt unaccountable and therefore they had to shut down the experiment early because of increased aggression  Deindividuation increases people’s responsiveness to external cues that might sometimes be prosocial Johnson & Downing  Females wearing KKK cloaks (negative) or nurse uniforms (positive), some highly identifiable, some ‘invisible’—deindividuation (no nametags) led to more aggression in KKK cloaks and less aggression in nurse uniforms  Deindividuation serves to increase people’s adherence to emerging norms in that group—a new norm of aggression against authority develops in a group  This state can also occur in internet communication (e.g. internet chat rooms) Decision Making in Groups Groupthink a way of thinking that can occur in decision-making groups when pressure to agree leads to inadequate appraisal of options and poor decisions  Fundamental cause of groupthink: pressure to agree with other members o Members want to maintain a sense of uniformity and agreement o Members do not want to “make waves” o Members do not want to be ostracized Group cohesiveness the combined strength of all forces acting on members of a group to remain in the group  Highly cohesive groups: strongly motivated to remain part of group (both positive and negative consequences)  Having a directive leader: express their own opinions before any discussion and control subsequent conversation in the group, which pressures members to agree  High stress: members feel pressure to follow leader’s opinion & to avoid “rocking the boat” Symptoms of Groupthink 1. An illusion of invulnerability—members feel invulnerable 2. Rationalization of warnings 3. An unquestioned belief in the inherent morality of the group—failing to recognize that self-interest may be colouring the group’s perspective 4. Stereotyped views of enemy leaders—enemies seen as weak 5. Pressure on group members who challenge the consensus—social pressure, dissent is inconsistent with being a loyal member of the group 6. Self-censorship of misgivings, questions, and counterarguments 7. An illusion of unanimity—believe that everybody agrees with one another 8. Emergence of self-appointed mindguards—people shield leader from criticisms, doubts, deciding that their actions are necessary for leader’s peace of mind and group harmony  Ex. Drinking water system becoming contaminated w/ deadly bacteriathose responsible for managing system very complacent, resistant to idea that water could be unhealthy, + Public Utilities Commission (PUC) members accepted uncritically the men’s assurances that the water was safe  Ex. Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion o Shuttle lifted off, included one non-astronaut member, 1 minute in fire could be seen on rocket booster, the shuttle exploded and the crew compartment blew off—NASA aware of problem for months, engineer warned NASA day before launch, but NASA thought shuttle was invulnerable, pressure for shuttle to launch of time, NASA staff thought everyone was confident and unworried, culture within NASA encouraged isolation from disagreeing outsiders Avoiding Groupthink 1. Leader should be nondirective—don’t sit @ head of table, don’t state position at all 2. A norm of critical discussion—discussion is desirable and all suggestions must be evaluated thoroughly, sometimes designate one person to play devil’s advocate 3. Bring it outsiders with new perspectives Empirical Tests of Groupthink Predictions  Open leadership likely to produce better + more broadly based decision than directive  Individual differences in how people respond to directive vs. nondirective leaders—some prefer/respond more positively to directive leaders Group Polarization Group polarization tendency for group discussion to strengthen the initial leanings of the members in a group  Ex. Hiring new professor each member of committee expressed opinion out loud, and two candidates who had initially been named the most by committee members were unanimously selected to receive job offers—not a single committee member included the initially least-preferred candidate in his/her set of two choices  Ex. Coach making risky play or father investing in risky stock even more students recommend that coach should try the risky defence and more students should not buy the risky stocks after discussion  Brauer et al.  investigated whether groups would show polarization of stereotypes— students given fake info emphasizing negative qualities, then engaged in discussion about their impressions of group before reporting stereotypes, others reported stereotypes without any discussion—those who first discussed reported stronger stereotypes than those who didn't discuss  Group polarization may contribute to intergroup hostility Causes of Group Polarization Two Explanations: (1)Persuasive arguments – more arguments during the discussion will support side initially favoured  If confederate offers many arguments against initially favoured side, polarization reduced (2)Social Comparison – when members realize the group is leaning on one direction, they may seek acceptance by moving further in that direction  Simply learning the positions of other members (with no discussion) produces some polarization  These two concepts parallel concepts of informational and normative influence  Jury decision making interesting application of group polarization – often use expert knowledge to polarize their decision (especially in cases of battered woman syndrome) Minority Influence Confidence and Persistence  Minorities can be successful if they are firm and resolute in their position—minority view confidence within raises questions in minds of majority individuals  Should try to avoid appearing too rigid and impervious to information—they must seem reasonable and logical, but also resolute in their opinion on the issue o Agreeing w/ majority on other issues (gives more credibility when they disagree b/c they’ve shown they don’t always hold deviant views)  Not easy: minorities usually face conformity pressure and may be rejected Effects of Minority Influence  Stimulates divergent thinking—majority provoked to think carefully, consider new perspectives (as opposed to convergent thinking in majority groups) o Ex. Nemeth exposure to minority view increases people’s subsequent willingness to take an unpopular position themselves o Ex. Nemeth and Chiles  colour judging task (confederates chose unusual judgments in some situations) and after all took part in Asch’s line-judgment task— participants that had been exposed to minority view in colour-judging task were less likely to conform on line-judging task Social Impact Theory  Number, strength, closeness (immediacy) of sources of influence factors in theory  Both majorities and minorities exert their influence through similar processes Leadership  Leader guides group toward its goals, serves as representative, tries to maintain morale Defining a Leader Definitions: 1. Person who holds formal position of authority, easy to identify (e.g. president) 2. They are the person named most by members of group (e.g. leader of friendship group) 3. How much impact they have on the group, i.e. person who exerts most influence Transformational leaders individuals who produce fundamental changes in how members of a group view themselves and the group o Ex. Mother Theresa, Pierre Trudeau Functions Fulfilled by Leaders  Functions include: o Expert (teaches skills) o Planner (plans how to achieve goals) o Executive (assigns tasks) o Policymaker (develops policies to guide) o Performance appraiser (evaluates performance) o External representative (represents g
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