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Chapter 12

PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Cockroach, Social Loafing, Individuation


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 215
Professor
John Lydon
Chapter
12

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Chapter Twelve
Groups
The Nature and Purpose of Group Living
the advantages that humans receive from group living are not well known, as other animal
species pursue successfully both solitary and group lifestyles
protection from predators
efficiency in acquiring food
assistance with rearing children
defense against human aggressors
group – collection of individuals who have relations to one another that make them
interdependent to significant degree
Social Facilitation
what effect does the presence of other people have on human performance?
Initial Research
Norman Triplett, 1898
social facilitation – initially a term for enhanced performance in the presence of others;
now a broader term for the effect (positive or negative) of the presence of others on
performance
the presence of others seems to facilitate human performance
the same effects are obtained when others are present but not necessarily doing the
same task
the same effects are also observed in a vast number of animal species
exceptions:
the presence of others seems to inhibit performance on arithmetic problems, memory
tasks, and maze learning
this has also been found in other species
Resolving the Contradictions
study of the effects of the presence of others on performance
Zajonc's Theory
the presence of others tends to facilitate performance on simple or well-learned tasks, but it
hinders the performance on novel or difficult tasks
three components
the mere presence of others makes a person more aroused
other people are dynamic and unpredictable stimuli, capable of doing almost
anything at any time
we need to be alert in their presence so we can react to what they might do
arousal tends to make a person more rigid, in the sense that the person becomes even
more inclined to do what he/she was already inclined to do
makes a person more likely to make a
dominant response – in an individual's hierarchy of responses, the response he
or she is most likely to make
links increase in dominant response tendencies to the facilitation of simple tasks and the
inhibition of complex tasks

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for easy/well learned tasks, the dominant response is likely to be the correct response
presence of others facilitates the correct response and improves performance
for difficult/ novel tasks, the dominant response is unlikely to be the correct response
presence of others facilitates an incorrect response and hinders performance
Testing the Theory
the theory has held up extremely well
Zajonc tested this theory on cockroaches
presence of another cockroach facilitated performance on the simple maze but hindered
performance on the complex maze
Coacting vs. Mere Presence
to show that it was the mere presence of the other cockroaches affecting the roach's
performance, Zajonc put the observing cockroaches behind a plexiglass barrier
same results occurred as the original experiment/ hypothesis
Mere Presence or Evaluation Apprehension?
one element of Zajonc's theory is disputed:
whether it is the mere presence of other people that increases arousal
evaluation apprehension – people's concern about how they might appear in the eyes of
others – that is, about being evaluated
Testing for Evaluation Apprehension
to evaluate for evaluation apprehension, there must be three conditions:
one with the subject performing alone
one with the subject performing in front of an evaluative audience
one with the subject performing in front of an audience that cannot evaluate a subject's
performance
Cottrell et al., 1968
pseudo-recognition test
participants weren't actually shown any of the original words in the replication, so were
therefore forced to guess on every trial
individuals performing in front of an evaluative audience made more dominant
responses than those performing alone
individuals performing in front of a blindfolded audience did not make more dominant
responses than those performing alone
concern is for others as a source of evaluation, not their mere presence
Testing for Mere Presence
the “alone” condition in Cottrell's experiment may not have been a “true” alone condition at
all, seeing as the participants knew they were taking part in an experiment
Markus, 1978
managed to create a true “alone” condition
participants took off and put on their own shoes more quickly when in the presence of
another person
participants took off and put on the experimenter's items more slowly when in the
presence of another person
Further Perspectives on Social Facilitation
distraction-conflict theory – a theory based on the idea that being aware of another
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person's presence creates a conflict between attending to that person and attending to the
task at hand, and that this attentional conflict is arousing and produces social facilitation
effects
social loafing – the tendency to exert less effort when working on a group task in which
individual contribution cannot be monitored
Practical Applications
how to study
study alone when material is unfamiliar and must be committed to memory
workspace design
if tasks to be completed are simple or repetitive, then the setting should be designed so
that people are in contact with one another
Group Decision Making
based on the assumption that decisions made by groups are typically superior to those made
by individuals
although arriving at the best possible solution to a problem may be the group's most
important goal, individuals may not share this goal
individuals may be concerned with being judged or hurting someone's feelings
Groupthink
groupthink – a kind of faulty thinking by highly cohesive groups in which the critical
scrutiny that should be devoted to the issues at hand is subverted by social pressures to reach
consensus
Symptoms and Sources of Groupthink
groupthink is a kind of psychological diminishment characterized by
a shallow examination of information
a narrow consideration of alternatives
a sense of invulnerability and moral superiority
may ignore or reject alternative viewpoints, discourage others from coming forward
with other ideas and assessments, and end up believing in the wisdom and moral
correctness of their proposed solutions
self-censorship – the tendency to withhold information or opinions in group discussions
Preventing Groupthink
freer, more liberal discussion may take place if the leader refrains from making his/her
preferences known at the beginning
making sure the group is not cut off from outside input
designate one person in the group to play devil's advocate
given every incentive to name any and all flaws in a group's proposed plan of action
Groupthink in Other Cultures
the drive toward harmony is greater in East Asian cultures than in Western cultures
managers typically discuss matters of importance with each member bfore a large
meeting is called and held as a formality
feedback is received from the individual employees
groupthink is avoided at the large meeting
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