Week 7 Readings – PSYCH 2310 – Chapter 9
Chapter 9: Group Processes
How do groups influence our behaviour?
- most human activities are performed in a group (bands, sports teams, army,
volunteer teams, juries, etc.)
- intragroup processes: processes that happen within a group
- intergroup processes: processes that occur between groups of people
- What defines a group?
o when two or more individuals perceive themselves to be members of
the same social category
o two or more people define themselves as members of a group and
when its existence is recognized by at least one other, outside the
- Social Facilitation
o The presence of others can have a positive influence on an individuals
This was first noticed by Triplett (1898) who observed that
cyclists were faster when they raced with other cyclists than
when they raced alone
o Social facilitation is when people do better on a task in the presence of
others than when they are alone!
o Social inhibition is when people do worse on the task in the presence
of others than when they are alone!
o Why does social facilitation, or social inhibition occur?
- Social Loafing
o Social loafing is a group-produced reduction in individuals output on
easy tasks where contributions are pooled! (So essentially the
individual slacks off)
o What factors social loafing?
Collective effective model: a model which describes people’s
motivation to exert effort in group tasks as depending on
whether they believe their distinct efforts will be identifiable,
their efforts will make a difference in the group’s success, and
they’ll experience positive outcomes.
Let’s examine each of these factors:
o When people socially loaf, they do it in part
because they can hide in the crowd
o People who must perform a difficult and unique
task for the group will not reduce their effort,
even when their individual ouput won’t be Week 7 Readings – PSYCH 2310 – Chapter 9
evaluated – they feel they can make an important
contribution to the group effort
o In cases where the task is very important, people
can be highly motivated to work hard even when
their own contributions won’t be identifiable – in
this case, social compensation occurs – this is the
notion that if a project is important to you, you
may work even harder to compensate for the
poor performance or social loafing of others
- Group Cohesion
o Group cohesion refers to the morale, team spirit, and solidarity of the
members of the group
o Cohesiveness is an essential characteristic that transforms a collection
of individual people into members of a group
o How does social compensation impact task performance?
Participants worked harder ona group task when they had low
expectations about their partner’s competence than if they had
high expectations about their partner’s competence
How do intragroup processes influence decision-making?
- group polarization
o when the initial tendencies of group members become more extreme
following group discussion
o this process can lead groups to make riskier decisions than
individuals would make alone – this is known as risky shift
o why does group discussion lead groups to polarize in their views?
Hear more persuasive arguments
Learn group norms
o A group decision-making type that is characterized by an excessive
tendency among group members to seek concurrence, consensus, and
unanimity, as opposed to making the best decision
o What contributes to groupthink?
Overestimate invulnerability and morality
Pressure toward uniformity
o High-cohesive groups made better decisions than low-cohesive
groups when threat levels were low, but lower quality decisions when
under high threat.
o Solutions to Groupthink
Group members need to encourage open contributions from all
members as well as to emphasize the importance of open
Groups should deliberately recruit diverse members training a
person in the group about the dangers of biased group Week 7 Readings – PSYCH 2310 – Chapter 9
decision-making and having this person inform other group
members about these issues can also be effective
How do leaders guide and motivate the group?
- trait or “great person” model
o describes good leaders as emerging based on specific personality
traits, such a