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PSYC 241 Ch8 Group Processes.pdf

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 241
Professor
Roderick C L Lindsay
Semester
Winter

Description
PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes   Chapter  8   Group  Processes     This  chapter  focuses  on:  social  influence  in  a  group  context   • Fundamentals  of  groups   o Why  people  are  drawn  to  groups   o How  groups  develop   • How  the  behaviour  of  individuals  is  affected  by  the  presence  of  others   • Group  performance   o Why  the  whole  group  performance  is  so  different  from  the  sum  of  its  parts   • Conflict:  how  groups  intensify  or  reconcile  their  differences       Fundamentals  of  groups     What  is  a  group?       Group:  set  of  individuals  with  at  least  one  of  the  following  characteristics:   • Direct  interactions  with  each  other  over  a  period  of  time   • Joint  membership  in  a  category  based  on  sex,  race,  or  other  attributes   • Shared  fate,  identity,  or  set  of  goals     This  chapter  focuses  on  the  first  and  third  criteria.       Some  groups  seem  more  exclusive  than  others.  That  is  because  some  have  distinct  boundaries   whereas  others  have  a  more  open  distinction  of  who  does  or  does  not  belong.       Collectives:  people  engaging  in  a  common  activity  but  having  little  direct  interaction  with  each   other.  For  example,  people  attending  a  concert  or  working  out  at  a  gym.       Why  join  a  group?     From  a  survival  perspective,  many  of  the  ambitions  of  human  life  require  that  we  work  in  groups.   We  are  inclined  through  evolution  to  belong  to  strong  groups  that  will  increase  our  chance  of   reproduction  and  survival.       From  a  psychological  perspective,  most  people  enjoy  the  feeling  of  belonging.  Groups  help  a   person  gain  a  greater  sense  of  personal  and  social  identity.  (Recall  social  identity  theory  which   states  that  people’s  feelings  of  self-­‐worth  come  from  their  identification  with  particular  groups).       Social  brain  hypothesis:  primate  brains  are  unusually  large  because  of  their  unusually  complex   social  worlds.             1   PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes   Socialization  and  group  development     The  process  of  socialization  into  a  group   1. Individual  joins  the  group.   2. Individual  assimilates  to  the  group.  At  the  same  time  the  group  may  make  changes  to   accommodate  the  newcomer.       Socialization  into  a  group  depends  largely  on  the  relationship  between  a  newcomer  and  existing   members  in  the  group.     • New  members  model  behaviour  based  on  what  existing  members  do   • Existing  members  train  the  new  member  and  serve  as  mentors     Socialization  is  a  vital  process  when  the  group  accepts  new  members.  If  it  is  done  properly,  it   creates  short-­‐term  and  long-­‐term  group  benefits.  If  it  is  done  poorly  it  can  suppress  potential   contributions  by  the  new  members  or  create  turnover  and  instability  in  the  group.       Group  development  goes  through  the  following  stages:   1. Forming  –  orientation     2. Storming  –  conflict     3. Norming  –  compromise     4. Performing  –  action     5. Adjourning  –  withdrawal       Forming.  Members  try  to  orient  themselves  to  the  group  by  acting  civilly.       Storming.  Members  try  to  influence  the  group  to  serve  their  personal  needs.  They  may  become   more  assertive  about  the  direction  the  group  should  be  moving  and  the  role  they  should  be   playing  within  the  group.  This  stage  can  breed  conflict,  hostility,  or  excitement  for  the  future.     Norming.  Members  try  to  reconcile  the  conflicts  that  emerge  during  storming  and  develop  a   common  sense  of  purpose  and  perspective.  Group  norms  and  individual  roles  are  established.  This   breeds  commitment  to  the  group.       Performing.  Members  try  to  perform  their  roles  to  maximize  group  performance.  They  engage  in   problem-­‐solving  to  achieve  shared  goals.       Adjourning.  Members  disengage  from  the  group  by  distancing  themselves  from  other  members   and  withdrawing  from  their  duties.  This  can  occur  if  the  cost  of  belonging  does  not  outweigh  the   reward.       Note  that  this  model  does  provide  an  accurate  description  of  group  development  for  many  groups,   it  does  not  capture  the  whole  picture  for  all  groups.  Some  researchers  argue  that  groups  do  not   always  develop  in  such  a  linear  fashion.         2   PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes     Punctuated  equilibrium  model  [of  group  development]:  groups  develop  in  and  start  and  stop   (punctuated)  manner.  Groups  go  through  periods  of  inertia  and  relative  inactivity  until  they  are   triggered  into  action  by  awareness  of  upcoming  deadlines.     • Unlike  the  previous  theory,  this  model  suggests  that  problem-­‐solving  occurs  quickly  after   group  formation  but  procrastination  ensues.       Roles,  Norms,  and  Cohesiveness     These  are  features  that  are  expected  in  and  common  to  most  groups.       Roles.  A  set  of  expected  behaviours.     • Can  be  formal  (based  on  title  –  student/teacher,  vice  president)  or  informal     There  are  two  fundamental  types  of  roles:   Instrumental  role:  helping  the  group  to  achieve  its  tasks.   Expressive  role:  providing  emotional  support  and  morale.         Individuals  in  the  group  perform  better  when  it  is  clear  what  their  role  is.  Performance  is  also   maximized  when  the  individual’s  role  matches  their  talents.       Norms.  Rules  of  conduct.     • Can  be  formal  (written  down)  or  informal  (general  unspoken  rules)   • Breaking  group  norms  by  “blowing  the  whistle”  on  others  who  are  corrupt  can  be   extremely  difficult     Cohesiveness.     • Group  cohesiveness:  forces  exerted  on  a  group  that  push  its  members  closer  together.     • It’s  true  that  cohesiveness  and  performance  are  positively  correlated.  Determining  a  causal   relationship  can  be  difficult,  but  many  people  believe  that  success  breeds  cohesiveness   more  so  than  cohesiveness  breeds  success.     • Cohesiveness  can  manifest  differently  in  collectivist  versus  individualistic  cultures.  When  a   cohesive  group  from  an  individualistic  culture  has  a  disagreement,  they  tend  to  see  it  as  a   productive  debate  and  use  it  to  perform  better.       Individuals  in  Groups:  The  Presence  of  Others     Three  important  effects  the  presence  of  others  can  have  on  an  individual:   • Social  facilitation   • Social  loafing   • Deindividuation     These  effects  can  act  on  an  individual  when  they  are  working  in  a  real  group  or  even  when  they   are  merely  part  of  a  collective  or  crowd  (think  of  the  Vancouver  riot  –  fans  were  a  collective)     3   PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes     Social  facilitation.  The  earliest  record  of  social  facilitation  is  Triplett’s  studies  involving  cyclists.   In  this  early  study  cyclists  performed  better  against  others  than  against  the  clock.  Other  studies   have  shown  that  the  presence  of  a  group  hinders  performance.  What  gives?     The  Zajonc  Solution:  Robert  Zajonc  proposed  that  the  presence  of  others  increases  arousal,   which  can  impact  performance  in  different  ways.  This  is  a  three-­‐step  process.     1. The  presence  of  others  increases  physiological  arousal,  which  energizes  behaviour.  Note   that  this  trend  is  exclusive  to  the  presence  of  conspecifics  (members  of  the  same  species).     2. Increased  arousal  enhances  the  performance  of  the  dominant  response,  which  is  the   response  most  quickly  and  easily  performed  in  response  to  a  stimulus.   3. Performance  depends  on  the  type  of  task.  It  can  go  one  of  two  ways:   a. On  an  easy  and  well-­‐learned  task  the  dominant  response  is  often  successful.     b. On  a  difficult  or  unfamiliar  task  the  dominant  response  is  often  unsuccessful.     Think  about  it.  When  you’re  just  learning   something  having  another  person  present  can   give  you  too  much  nervous  energy.  When   you’re  really  good  having  another  person  there   gives  you  that  boost  to  push  yourself.                     Taking  all  of  this  into  account,  here’s  the  definition.       Social  facilitation:  a  process  whereby  the  presence  of  others  enhances  performance  on  easy  tasks   but  impairs  performance  on  difficult  tasks.  It’s  really  important  to  note  that  social  facilitation  acts   on  the  dominant  response  and  not  necessarily  the  task  itself  (that  is  why  a  term  with  “facilitation  in   the  title  can  also  impair  performance  –  it  makes  difficult  tasks  more  difficult).       Studies  have  shown  that  social  facilitation  occurs  not  only  in  the  presence  of  others  but  in  the   presence  of  a  photo  of  a  favourite  TV  character  (but  not  a  nonfavourite)  and  a  virtual  person  on  a   computer.       Mere  presence  theory:  Zanjonc  proposed  that  the  mere  presence  of  others  is  enough  to  produce   social  facilitation  effects.  This  has  been  challenged  by  other  researchers,  and  alternate  theories   have  been  proposed  (see  next  page).             4   PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes   Evaluation  apprehension  theory:  performance  is  only  impacted  (for  better  or  worse)  when  the   spectators  are  in  a  position  to  evaluate  us.     Distraction-­‐conflict  theory:  arousal  increases  when  we  are  conflicted  about  where  to  pay   attention.       Social  loafing.  When  people  think  they  are  acting  alone  they  often  try  much  harder  than  when   they  think  their  efforts  are  pooled.  Cheering  in  a  crowd  decreases  per  individual  as  group  size  goes   up,  the  amount  of  force  pulling  on  a  rope  is  smaller  when  a  person  thinks  that  they  are  pulling   with  other  people,  et  cetera.       Social  loafing:  occurs  when  individuals  generate  less  output  when  they  belong  to  a  group.         Social  loafing  is  not  inevitable.  When  one  or  more  of  the  following  factors  are  at  play  it  is  less  likely   to  occur:   • People  believe  that  their  own  performance  is  salient/up  for  evaluation.   • The  task  is  important  to  the  people  performing  it.   • People  believe  that  their  full  effort  is  needed  for  success.   • The  group  expects  to  be  punished  for  poor  performance.   • The  group  is  small.   • The  group  is  cohesive.     • The  task  is  broken  down  into  smaller/simpler  components.   • Personal  variables  such  as  being  highly  contentious,  motivated,  or  task-­‐oriented.     Cyberloafing:  a  form  of  social  loafing  in  which  employees  that  are  part  of  the  team  spend  most  of   their  time  on  the  Internet.       Collective  effort  model:  tries  to  explain  why  social  loafing  sometimes  occurs  but  sometimes  does   not.  The  model  asserts  that  social  loafing  is  less  likely  to  occur  when  the  outcome  of  the  collective   task  is  something  that  the  individual  values  personally.       Social  compensation:  increasing  efforts  on  a  collective  task  to  compensate  for  social  loafing.  This   is  a  working  opposite  of  social  loafing.  Essentially,  when  the  outcome  of  a  collective  task  is   personally  meaningful  the  group  will  not  experience  social  loafing  but  will  experience  social   compensation.       Social  compensation  occurs  when  individuals  are  motivated  to  succeed  at  a  collective  task  and   therefore  increase  their  effort.  The  sucker  effect  occurs  when  this  motivation  is  lacking  and  so   people       Sucker  effect:  intentionally  exerting  less  effort  when  it  is  clear  that  social  loafing  will  take  place.   No  one  wants  to  be  “the  sucker”  putting  forth  all  the  effort.  There  are  a  few  factors  that  make  this   more  likely  to  occur:  (1)  the  outcome  of  the  task  isn’t  personally  important  to  the  individual,  (2)   the  individual  member  believes  that  their  contribution  won’t  really  affect  the  outcome  (3)  they   5   PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes   feel  they  will  be  unable  to  compensate  for  the  social  loafing  they  anticipate  from  other  group   members.   Women  in  general,  and  individuals  from  collectivist  cultures  are  less  likely  to  socially  loaf  than   men  or  individuals  from  individualistic  cultures.  Think  for  a  second  about  collectivist  culture   group  norms.  No  one  wants  to  deviate  from  the  norm  by  standing  out.  This  means  that  social   loafing  is  likely  to  occur  in  a  collectivist  group  when  they  have  established  a  norm  of  low   productivity.  No  individual  will  want  to  deviate  from  this  norm.       Deindividuation.  History  is  full  of  stories  of  gang  mentality,  large  groups  committing  heinous  and   violent  acts.  What  makes  an  unruly  group  capable  of  such  brutality?   Arousal  +  Anonymity  +  Reduced  responsibility  à  Deindividuation.       Deindividuation:  occurs  when  an  individual  loses  their  sense  of  individuality  while  they  are  in   the  group,  and  as  a  consequence  they  no  longer  exert  normal  constraint  over  deviant  behaviour.     Think  about  it:  in  the  Milgram  study  people  were  more  likely  to  inflict  pain  when  they  were  not   personally  responsible  for  the  act.  Sure,  this  has  more  to  do  with  obedience  to  a  higher   governance,  but  I  think  the  example  generalized  and  demonstrates  the  point  nicely.       Accountability  cues:  allow  the  person  to  weigh  the  costs  and  benefits  of  deviant  behaviour.   • Being  in  a  large  crowd  or  wearing  a  mask  are  two  cues  that  indicate  low  chances  of  being   caught  and  punished,  and  therefore  are  associated  with  low  accountability.   • This  increases  chances  of  destructive  behaviours.     Attentional  cues:  these  direct  a  person’s  focus  away  from  them  as  an  individual.  Attention  is  paid   to  the  immediate  situation  and  not  the  long-­‐term  personal  consequences  of  a  certain  behaviour.   This  means  that  people  are  more  likely  to  act  on  impulse.     An  example  of  a  place  where  accountability  and  attentional  cues  are  low  is  on  the  Internet.  The   individual  remains  relatively  anonymous  if  they  do  not  post  particulars  and  they  are  not  aware  of   long-­‐term  repercussions  of  posting  something  nasty  –  they  just  see  the  opportunity  and  take  it.     Researchers  conducted  a  field  study  on  Halloween.  Halloween  is  a   time  when  deindividuation  is  common,  as  children  usually  travel  in   groups  and  wear  costumes  that  conceal  their  identity.  There  were   four  conditions  made  up  of  two  sets  of  variables.  Some  children  were   observed  who  were  in  groups  and  others  were  alone.  The  second  set   of  variables  was  anonymity:  the  researcher  (who  was  giving  candy)   either  asked  the  children  their  names  and  where  they  lived  or  asked   them  nothing.  The  children  were  then  left  alone  with  a  bowl  of  candy   and  asked  to  take  only  once  piece.  The  data  to  the  left  indicated  the   percentage  of  children  that  took  more  than  one  piece  of  candy.  It  is   clear  that  children  who  were  both  in  a  group  and  were  anonymous   (low  accountability)  were  more  likely  to  show  the  deviant/impulsive   behaviour.Another  field  study  was  conducted  on  Halloween  to  test  attentional  cues.  Older  children   6   PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes   who  were  asked  their  names  were  much  less  likely  to  take  more  than  once  piece  of  candy  if  a   mirror  was  placed  behind  the  bowl.  A  mirror  increases  self-­‐awareness  and  therefore  makes   attentional  cues  high.     This  example  helps  to  understand  the  social  identity  model  of  deindividuation  effects.   Participants  were  instructed  to  administer  electric  shocks  to  another  participant  (actually  a   confederate).  Some  participants  were  garbed  in  KKK  robes  and  others  in  a  nurse  uniform.  The   other  conditions  were  that  some  participants  were  anonymous  and  others  were  identified.  The   overall  finding  was  that  the  people  in  KKK  robes  increased  shock  levels  in  both  conditions,  while   those  in  nursing  uniforms  decreased  shock  intensity  four  times  more  frequently  when  they  were   in  the  anonymous  condition  than  when  they  were  in  the  identified  condition.  This  demonstrates   that  the  group  we  belong  to  may  have  something  to  do  with  deviant  behaviour  from   deindividuation.       Social  identity  model  of  deindividuation  effects  (SIDE):  whether  deindividuation  affects   someone  for  the  better  or  worse  reflects  the  characteristics  and  norms  of  the  group  immediately   surrounding  the  individual  and  the  group’s  power  to  act  according  to  these  norms.  This  model  is   the  process  by  which  individual  identity  becomes  lost  to  group  identity.       How  the  group  impacts  you  is  based  on  what  the  group  stands  for.  Think  about  the  KKK/nurse   experiment.  When  group  identity  was  that  of  belonging  to  the  KKK  deindividuation  manifested  as   increased  deviant  behaviour.  When  group  identity  was  that  of  being  a  nurse  deindividuation   manifested  as  increased  likelihood  to  do  good  for  someone,  even  if  it  meant  disobeying  demands.       Group  Performance:  Problems  and  Solutions     This  section  looks  at  processes  that  act  on  groups  (as  opposed  to  the  previous  section  in  which  the   processes  can  act  on  groups  or  crowds  or  collectives).       Process  loss.  Occurs  when  group  productivity  suffers  due  to  faulty  group  dynamics.  There  are   three  types  of  tasks  described  by  Steiner  that  each  can  suffer  process  loss  through  different   avenues.           Additive  task:  group  outcome  is  the  sum  of  all  members’  contributions.  Typically  a  group     will  outperform  an  individual  on  these  types  of  task.  Process  loss  occurs  through  social   loafing.  A  charity  donation  or  the  amount  of  noise  made  at  a  pep  rally  are  additive  tasks.     Conjunctive  task:  group  outcome  is  determined  by  the  weakest  link  (the  individual  with   the  poorest  performance).  Generally  a  lone  individual  can  outperform  a  group  on  these   sorts  of  tasks.  Mountain  climbing  is  an  example.       Disjunctive  task:  group  outcome  is  determined  by  the  strongest  individual  performance.   This  includes  trying  to  solve  a  math  problem  or  any  task  that  requires  one  correct  answer.   Individuals  typically  perform  better.  It  may  seem  counterintuitive;  with  more  people,  isn’t   their  greater  chance  of  a  breakthrough?  The  problem  is  that  group  processes  can  mean  that   not  all  individuals  are  heard,  and  even  if  they  are  heard  they  have  to  convince  others  that   7   PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes   their  method  is  the  best  method.  This  means  that  the  group  can  decide  on  an  answer  that  is   worse  than  the  answer  that  some  of  the  stronger  members  would  have  come  up  with   individually.     Types  of  tasks  that  can  suffer  process  loss   Type  of  task   Definition   likely  to  succeed?  How  does  process   Example  of  the  task   loss  occur?   Additive  task   Outcome  is  the  sum   Group   Social  loafing   Raising  money   of  the  group’s   Cheering   contributions.   Conjunctive   Outcome  is   Individual   Having  a  group   Mountain  climbing   task   determined  by  the   member  that  is     weakest   weaker  than   performance   others   Disjunctive   Outcome  is   Individual   Group  processes   Need  one  correct   task   determined  by  the   can  keep  the  best   answer,  ex:  trivia   strongest   performance  from   or  math   performance   manifesting   competitions.     Process  gain:  the  group  works  better  than  the  sum  of  its  parts.  This  occurs  when  the  solution  is   obvious  and  the  work  can  be  divided  easily  and  based  on  strengths.       Brainstorming.   The  rules  of  brainstorming  say  that  all  ideas  should  be  expressed  and  received  without  judgment;   get  as  many  ideas  out  there  as  possible,  build  on  other  people’s  ideas  and  evaluate  what  is  the  best   idea  after  the  brainstorming.  This  may  seem  like  a  process  that  favours  groups,  but  research  has   shown  that  brainstorming  produces  fewer  ideas  both  quantitatively  and  qualitatively  based  on   what  a  lone  individual  could  come  up  with.  The  textbook  states  that  a  group  brainstorms  about   half  the  number  of  productive  ideas  that  individual  does.       Problem  factors  of  group  brainstorming.       Production  blocking:  people  can  forget  the  idea  (entirely  or  some  of  the  details)  while  they  are   waiting  for  their  turn  to  speak.  Alternatively,  they  may  be  so  focused  on  their  idea  that  they  are   not  listening  or  taking  in  other  people’s  ideas.       Free  riding:  this  is  another  way  of  saying  social  loafing.  People  feel  that  they  do  not  need  to   generate  as  many  ideas  because  collectively  the  group  has  already  come  up  with  a  lot.       Evaluation  apprehension:  people  may  be  afraid  that  their  ideas  are  evaluated,  and/or  they  may   spend  most  of  their  time  thinking  of  ways  to  justify  their  idea  instead  of  listening  or  coming  up   with  more  ideas.       Performance  matching:  group  members  only  work  as  hard  as  they  see  others  work.     8   PSYC  241  –  Group  Processes   Ways  to  make  group  brainstorming  as  productive  as  individual  brainstorming  include:  getting  a   trained  facilitator  to  lead  the  group
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