PSYC 241 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Groupthink, Deindividuation

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PSYC241 – Chapter 9: Group Processes
What is a Group?
-Group: Three or more people who interact and are interdependent in the sense
that their needs and goals cause them to influence each other
Why do People Join Groups?
- Fulfills basic needs to belong, evolutionary aspect (groups more likely to survive)
- Groups help us define who we are, can be an important source of information, and
help establish social norms
The Composition and Functions of Groups
- Groups place limits on members (ex. 3-6). If too many people, not everyone can
interact with each other and thus it is not a group (ex. University is not a group)
- Group members tend to be alike in age, sex, beliefs, and opinions (homogeneity) 
Why? people attracted to others who are similar, groups tend to function in ways
that encourage similarity
-Social Norms:
oIf we violate social norms too often, we are shunned by the group or in
extreme cases, pressured to leave the group
-Social Roles: Shared expectations in a group about how particular people are
supposed to behave
oWhen roles are clearly defined, people tend to be satisfied and perform
well
oSocial roles can become so powerful however, that they “take over” our
personal identities to the point that we become the role we are playing
oGuard and prisoner experiment
-Gender Roles
oConflict can result when expectations change for some roles but not for
others assumed by the same person (ex. Women increasingly viewed as
professionals, but views as domestic workers has not decreased  women
expected to “do it all”)
oChanging roles can affect our personalities, feelings, and behaviour (ex.
As women’s independence increases, so does assertiveness. As it
decreases, assertiveness decreases)
-Group Cohesiveness: qualities of a group that bind members together and
promote liking between members
oGroup cohesiveness can improve performance if it involves cooperation,
however if pleasing the group gets in the way of optimal performance,
there is a problem.
Groups and Individuals Behaviour
Social Facilitation: When the Presence of Others Energizes Us
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-Social Facilitation: the tendency for people to do better on simple tasks and
worse on complex tasks when they are in the presence of others and their
individual performance can be evaluated
- Presence of others increases physiological arousal. If task simple, energy used to
perform task. If task difficult, energy goes into making us flustered and hindering
performance
- Why the Presence of Others Causes Arousal:
oOthers make us particularly alert and vigilant  people are unpredictable,
we don’t know if they will do something that will require us to respond.
This causes greater alertness than when we are alone.
oOthers make us apprehensive about how we’re being evaluated 
evaluation apprehension
oOthers distract us from the task  puts us in a state of conflict because
difficult to concentrate on 2 things at once. Nonsocial distractions (ex.
Flashing light) cause the same level of distraction.
Social Loafing: When the Presence of Others Relaxes Us
-Social Loafing: the tendency for people to relax when they are in the presence of
others and their individual performance cannot be evaluated, such that they do
worse on simple tasks but better on complex tasks (ex. You clap and cheer less
when you’re around other people than when you are alone)
- Becoming relaxed impairs performance on simply tasks, but improves
performance on complex tasks (applies to social facilitation also)
Gender and Cultural Differences in Social Loafing: Who Slacks off the Most?
- Men more likely to social loaf than women because women place more value on
interpersonal relationships
- Tendency to loaf stronger in Western cultures than Asian cultures (Asian cultures,
like women, more interdependent)
Deindividuation: Getting Lost in the Crowd
-Deindividuation: the loosening of normal constraints on behaviour when people
can’t be identified (such as when they are in a crowd) (ex. KKK)
- Deindividuation makes people feel less accountable because it reduces likelihood
that individuals will be singled out and blamed
- Deindividuation increases obedience to group norms
- Deindividuation strong in cyberspace
Group Decisions: Are Two (or More) Heads Better Then One?
- Sometimes, but several factors can cause groups to make worse decisions than
individuals
Process Loss: When Group Interactions Inhibit Good Problem Solving
- Group will only do well if the most talented member can convince the others that
he/she is right
-Process Loss: any aspect of group interaction that inhibits good problem solving
oEx. failure to communicate to find the most competent answers
-Failure to Share Unique Information:
oTendency for groups to discuss majority known knowledge and failing to
discuss information that only some members have  unique information
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