CH 9 GROUP PROCESSES
1. What is a group?
- A group consists of 2 or more people in the same place at the same time
who interact and interdependent because their needs and goals cause them to
influence each other.
Composition and function of a group
- Social norms are a powerful determinant of our behaviour
- All societies have norms about which behaviors are acceptable, some of
which all members are expected to obey and some of which vary from group
- These are shared expectations in a group about how particular people who
occupy certain positions are supposed to behave
- There are costs to social roles when people get so far into a role that their
personal identities are lost.
Prison Abuse at Abu Ghraib
- The prison guards were under tremendous stress, had received little
supervision and were asked to set their own rules for interrogation
- Changing women’s roles can cause conflict when many women are expected
to do it all – maintain a career while raising the children and cleaning the
- This affects personalities – raises assertiveness.
- The qualities of a group that bind members together and promote mutual
- Cohesiveness can help the group do well if they’re required to cooperate
together (i.e. football team)
- Cohesiveness can also get in the way of optimal performance if maintaining
good relations among group members becomes more important than finding
good solutions to a problem.
2. Social facilitation
- The tendency 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
- Placed a bright light at one end of a runway and timed how long it took for
the roach to escape the light by running to the other end where it would
scurry into a darkened box
- In the Simple maze condition, other roaches placed in plastic boxes next to
the runway performed the task faster when the other roaches were there than
when they were by themselves
- In the Complex maze condition, it took longer for roach to complete the
- Zajonc believes that when we are aroused by other people, it’s easier to do
well on a task that’s second nature to you
Mere Presence theory
- Presence of others makes us more alert and aware that others will require us
- Applies to both animal and human studies
Evaluation apprehension theory - People are often concerned about how other people are evaluating them
- You feel like others are evaluating you and will feel embarrassed if you do
poorly and pleased if you do well
- Evaluation produces mild arousal.
- Presence of people not enough, they have to be evaluating you. Distraction Conflict theory
- Sources of distraction will put us in a state of conflict because it’s difficult to
pay attention to 2 things at the same time, which produces arousal
- Doesn’t have to be a person to create the same effect, even a flashing light
causes social facilitation.
- If you are well prepared then you should perform in presence of others.
3. Social loafing
- The tendency for people to do worse on simple tasks but better on complex
tasks when they’re in the presence of others and their individual
performance can’t be evaluated.
- Expend less effort on simple tasks because they experience less arousal
- Do better on complex tasks because evaluation apprehension is reduced and
they experience less arousal as well.
Gender and Culture in social loafing - Women are higher than men in relational interdependence which is the
tendency to focus on and care about personal relationships with other
individuals. Thus, women are less likely to slack off
- Loafing occurs more in Western cultures than Asians because Asians define
themselves in terms of relationships to other people
Clapping - When an individual had to cheer or clap by themselves, they created more
Latane sound pressure than when doing so in a group.
Difficult mazes - Individuals and groups (avg of 2 persons scores) were evaluated based on
Jackson & Williams time it took to finish simple or difficult mazes.
- In the simple maze: individual took less time to complete
- In the complex maze: group took less time to complete
** Opposite to social facilitation effect because group is on your side rather than
4. Deindividualization - Deindividuation is the loosening of normal constraints on behaviour when
people can’t be identified leading to an increase in impulsive and deviant
- Face paint, costumes, being in a mob hides identity.
- Deindividuation makes people feel less accountable for their actions because
it reduces the likelihood that any individual will be singled out and blamed.
- When group members are together and deindividuated, they’re more likely
to act on the groups norms instead of other norms, i.e. that of the society.
- On the web, profanity has become common in comments because people are
- Children were placed in a group or alone were given the chance to take extra
- Researchers also asked them what their name was, where they lived to
- In the alone group that was identified, children took less candy than non-
- In the group, identified children also took less but non-identified group
children took the most.
Is it always bad?
- The social identity model states that deindividuation can lead to positive
behaviours too i.e. nurses in nurse uniform make them act more caring
because they feel they have to act the norm.
5. Group Decisions
- Process loss any aspect of group interaction that inhibits good problem
solving, which can occur if groups don’t try hard enough to find out who the
most competent member is and end up relying on someone who really
doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
- Group polarization is the exaggeration through group discussion of initial
Group polarization tendencies in the thinking of group members - Groups tend to focus on the information they share and ignore facts known
to only some members of the group.
- Each participant was given the same packet of information to read, data
indicate that candidate A was the best choice for office
- Almost all Ps knew that candidate had 8 positive qualities and 4 negative
Candidate for student body qualities making him superior so when they met, they chose candidate A.
president - In unshared condition, Ps received different packet of information and each
person knew candidate had 2 positive and 4 negative qual