PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Meritocracy, Social Facilitation, Social Loafing

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28 Sep 2014
Chapter 14
Group – a collection of at least two people who are doing or being something
Dyad – a group of two people
How to bring people together
oCommon goal
oCommon identity
oCommon rival
Evolutionarily speaking, loners can never beat groups for a similar goal
Social animals live in groups (for benefits)
Culture increases what groups can do  preserve info about the group and pass it to
future generations  increases benefit of absorbing/communicating information + role
Human groups are often made up of well-defined individual roles
oDifferent jobs = specialization = completing each other to improve total
Success of human groups depends on identifying individual people with their unique
talents  when people blend together groups perform less well
Deindividuation – the loss of self-awareness and of individual accountability in a
group  loss of individuality
Being anonymous = important source of protection of individual rights/freedoms
BUT causes people to behave badly (trick or treaters stealing candy if the person
doesn’t know who you are)
Deindividuated participants are more aggressive towards people they don’t like (like
electric shocks – Zimbardo)
In a culture, roles are defined by the system (independent of the individual)
oSystem creates the role, different human beings occupy it
oPeople have to be flexible enough to adopt these roles
Belonging to a human cultural group involves 2 demands
oFind common values/sources of similarity that can cement one’s allegiance to
the group
oFind some special/unique role within the group
Optimal distinctiveness – proposition that when people feel very similar to others in
a group, they seek a way to be different and when they feel different, they try to be
more similar (Brewer)
oHuman behaviour in groups marked by unending tension between trying to be
similar and trying to be different
oIf someone feels different, they try to be more similar (and vice versa)
oLau – black people identify with other black people in various situations the
strongest when their own personal lives were surrounded by black people
Group action produces improvement or disaster
oGroups are negative when people are submerged in groups  less accountable
for their actions
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oAccountability produces better outcomes
oPeople cooperate more with others when they are individually identified
oAnonymity produces greed, fear, dangerous reactions
Triplett’s bicycle racing – people themselves clock a slower time than those with
oThe presence of others stimulated competitive instinct = harder working
Evaluation apprehension – concern about how other are evaluating your
performance (people increase efforts when others are present because they want those
people to evaluate them favourably)
Zajonc – presence of other people is arousing
oDominant response – the common response in a given situation (breathing
faster, heart beat faster, adrenaline through the body)
oSocial facilitation theory – proposition that the presence of others increases
the dominant response tendency
oExplains the good and bad effects of the presence of others
oPresence of others  arousal  dominant response increases  correct? 
performance increases
oPresence of others  arousal  dominant response increases  incorrect? 
performance decreases
oWorking in a large open office space  good if they are simple tasks but bad if
they are complex
Social facilitation effects depend on 3 processes
oBodily arousal confers more energy/increases dominant response
oEvaluation apprehension makes people strive to make a good impression
oSome degree of distraction occurs, insofar as people start paying attention to
each other rather than the task
Narcissists – individuals who regard themselves as better than others and are
constantly trying to win the admiration of others (only do stuff for credit)
Ringelman – adding another farm worker didn’t increase total input as much as it
should have
oHuman beings are less than the sum of its parts
Social loafing (free rider problem) – the finding that people reduce effort when
working in a group, compared to when working alone
oDon’t make as much noise clapping/shouting when there are other people than
if alone
oSeem to be cheating the system (i.e. taking the subway)
oBeing identified reduces social loafing = accountability
Triplett vs Ringelman
oTriplett found being in a group = better
oRingelman found being in a group = worse
oTriplett studies – people individually identified (competing)
oRingelmans – people working together = not individual
Once people in a group begin to think that others are loafing, they loaf too
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oBad apple effect – the idea that one social loafer can cause other people to
loaf as well
People will try to punish those who are loafing
oTricky of economists  free riders can undermine the system for others but
economists think that people should be maximizing their own payoffs
oAltruistic punishment – the finding that people will sometimes sacrifice their
own gain for the betterment of all, by punishing people who cheat the system
Irrational – deep in the psyche
Deindividuation makes people willing to act on their impulses  increases antisocial
behaviour  feel freer to go against group’s values
Postmes/Spears – effects of deindividuation are erratic
oPeople are more violent
oAnonymous in a group does not matter but anonymous to outsiders makes
them willing to violate norms
oMakes them more willing to behave badly and not care what others think
oAccountability = biggest factor in predicting aggression
Resources can be held in 2 ways
oPrivate property – single person owns the resource
Causes inequality of wealth (in terms of money and increasing their
share, worldly possessions)
oResources shared by the group – take what you need and leave the rest for
Resources get preserving care
Communism = bad in general
Commons dilemma – the tendency for shared or jointly owned
resources to be squandered and not used in an optimal or advantageous
Conflicts – social conscience versus selfish impulse
oTime (to manage the resource in the long run its best to
restrain oneself in the present)
oCommunication helps to manage resources
oBehaviour of others manages how you deal with things
Brainstorming – a form of creative thinking in groups, using a procedure in which
all group members are encouraged to generate as many ideas as possible + build on
each others ideas without being shot down
oPeople believe they would come up with better ideas if brainstorming
oMullen, Johnson, Salas reviewed that output of brainstorming groups is
actually lower than working alone  more ideas individually than together
oQuality of work coming out of brainstorming is low as well
oGalton – people are not intelligent, groups are even less
Cattle weight guess proved him wrong
oSurowiecki – counterarguments to the notion that groups are stupid
No expect can predict sports games better than the betting line
No stockbroker can pick the winning stocks better than the market
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