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Chapter 7

Chapter 7.docx

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Hilary B Bergsieker

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Psych. 253 Social Psych. Chapter 7 Group Influence What is a group? - Group: two or more people who, for longer than a few moments, interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as “us” - Different groups help us meet different human needs – to affiliate (to belong to and connect with others), to achieve, and to gain a social identity - Three phenomenon that influence minimal interacting groups: o Social facilitation o Social loafing, and o Deindividuation - Four examples of social influence in interacting groups: o Group polarization o Groupthink o Leadership, and o Minority influence Social Facilitation: How are we Affected by the Presence of Others? - Co – Actors: a group of people working simultaneously and individually on a non-competitive task The Mere Presence of Others - Experiment in which children had to wind string on a fishing reel as rapidly as possible: they did it faster when they worked with co-actors than when they worked alone - Social – Facilitation: the tendency of people to perform simple or well-learned tasks better when others are present (original meaning). The strengthening of dominant (prevalent, likely) responses owing to the presence of others (current meaning) - People perform better at many things when others are present, and this is true even for animals (ants excavate more sand when other ants are present, chicken eat more grain when other chicken are present) - Presence of others can also hinder performance: presence of others diminishes efficiency at learning nonsense syllables, completing a maze, and performing complex multiplication problems - Another experiment in psychology: arousal enhances whatever response tendency is dominant  easy tasks for which the dominant responses are the right answers are enhanced when aroused, or when the person is anxious. When the task is harder and the correct answer is not the dominant one, arousal or being anxious diminishes performance - Using the results from above experiment, it would therefore be safe to assume that in the presence of others, when we feel aroused / tense, our performance on easy tasks is enhanced and difficult tasks diminished - The previous experiment with easy tasks being enhanced by the presence of others and difficult tasks like learning new things being diminished by the presence of others makes sense  arousal facilitates dominant responses (enhancing easy behavior, impairing difficult behavior) - After 300 studies involving over 25 000 participants, arousal facilitates dominant response was shown to be correct. People who normally do well at a task, do better in the presence of others, and those who normally perform badly on a task, do worse in the presence of others - On average, home teams win about 6 in 10 games, home advantage may be due to the players’ familiarity with their home environment, less travel fatigue, feelings of dominance derived from territorial control, or increased team identity when cheered by fans Crowding: The Presence of Many Others - In the presence of others, people tend to have higher blood pressure, a faster heart rate and breathe faster, even a supportive audience may elicit poorer performance on challenging tasks - The effect of others’ presence increases with their number: stutterers tend to stutter more in front of larger audiences than when speaking with just one or two others - Experiment in which an accomplice listened to a humorous tape or watched a movie with other participants, and it was found that when the accomplice and the participants sat closer together, the accomplice could more readily induce them to laugh and clap - Crowding 35 people in a room just right for 35 people or fewer will cause greater arousal than placing 35 people in a room fit for 100 people, and when crowded, people do better at easier tasks and worse at difficult tasks - Crowding therefore has similar effects to being observed by a crowd: it enhances arousal which facilitates dominant response Why are we Aroused in the Presence of Others? - The three possible factors that lead to other people creating arousal: evaluation apprehension, distraction, and mere presence Evaluation Apprehension - We do better in the presence of others because we are concerned as to how they are evaluating us (evaluation apprehension) - Experiment in which the people present were blindfolded, participants performance did not improve in easy tasks when the people present were blindfolded the way it did when they were not blindfolded and facing the participants - When we think people are watching, we are anticipating that they will be evaluating us and therefore do better - Evaluation apprehension also explains the following: o People perform best when their co – actor (people present) are superior o Arousal lessens when a high status group is diluted by adding people whose opinions don’t matter to us o People who worry most about others’ evaluation are the ones most affected by their presence o Social – facilitation effects are greatest when the others are unfamiliar and hard to keep an eye on - Being self – conscious due to feeling that we are being evaluated makes us mess up even automatic, easy behaviors Driven by Distraction - We are distracted in the tasks we try to do when we are wondering about the co-actors and the audiences response - Arousal can come from things like a burst of light - Paying attention to others and the task at hand conflict and overload the cognitive system, causing arousal  we are driven by distraction Mere Presence - The fact that even bugs like cockroaches perform better in the presence of others of their own kind hints at an innate social arousal mechanism that does not involve fear of evaluation - The basics of the social facilitation theory is that the presence of others is arousing and that this social arousal enhances dominant responses, and it has been confirmed by studies - Applications of theory in real life settings include the way offices are built: has changed from having private offices to now having large open areas divided by low partitions Social Loafing: Do Individuals Exert Less Effort in a Group? - In activities that require a group of people to pool their efforts towards a common goals while the individuals in the group are not accountable for their efforts lead to better productivity? o Ex of such activities would be a group project in school where all the students get the same grade, or tug – of – war. Many Hands Make Light Work - Blindfolded people asked to pull a rope in the way they would during tug-of-war. When they believed they were pulling alone, they put in 18% more effort than when they believed that there were others pulling the rope with them. - Social loafing: the tendency for people to exert less effort when they pool their efforts toward a common goal than when they are individually accountable - Another experiment consisted of people blindfolded and seated with headphones on. The headphones would have other people, around 5 or so, clapping and cheering. When participants were told to cheer, they exerted 1/3 less effort when they heard others cheering on the headphones with them than when they were cheering alone. Social loafing was also seen with participants who were high – school cheerleaders who exerted less effort when they believe they were cheering with others vs. alone. - All agree that loafing occurs, but no one admits to doing the loafing: happens with students and group projects for shared grade, they all see themselves as having put in the same amount of work regardless of what they actually did. - Also tested with students and exercise bicycles, when they were led to believe they were being individually monitored, they put in much more effort than when their effort was being pooled with that of the other riders. This is called free – ride. - Free – Ride: people who benefit from the group but give little in return - As the group size increases, the percent of individual performance decreases - As can be seen through the social loafing experiments, group situations seem to decrease evaluation apprehension - When being observed increases evaluation concerns, social facilitation occurs; when being lost in a crowd decreases evaluation concerns, social loafing occurs - To motivate group members, one strategy is to make individual performance identifiable; football coaches do this by filming games and evaluating each player individually Social Loafing in Everyday Life - Assembly line workers produced 16% more product when their individual output was identified and also in the pickle factory, where the key job is picking the right size pickles. - In communist Russia, people far a different plot everyday with no direct responsibility for that plot. They were also given very small plots for their personal use, and the private plots occupied only 1% of the agricultural land, but produced 27% of the Soviet farm output (Hungary, same thing, private plots 13% of land, produced 1/3 of output) - China began allowing farmers to sell food grown in excess of the land owned to the state, production jumped up to 8% per year. - Social loafing is evident even in collectivist countries. Studies do suggest that it is much less exhibited in collectivist cultures than in individualistic cultures - Loyalty to family and work groups is important to collectivist cultures, and it is also something common in women and likewise, women tend to exhibit less social loafing than men do - When rewards are divided equally, any individual will get more than the effort they put in by free – riding in the group, therefore people may be motivated to slack off when effort is not individually monitored. Situations that welcome free riders are therefore “paradise for parasites” - People in a group loaf less when the task is challenging, appealing, or involving. Adding incentives or challenging a group to strive for certain standards also promotes collective effort  group members work hard when convinced that high effort will bring rewards. Group members work harder when they think their work in the group is indispensible - Groups also loaf less when their members are friends or even people that there is a chance that they might have to see again and have to maybe work together again. Cohesiveness intensifies effort - In everyday work groups, if given challenging objectives, significant rewards and team sprit exists, people put in more effort into the group Deindividuation: When do People Lose Their Sense of Self in Groups - In 1993, when soldiers from the Canadian Airborne Regiment were stationed in a remote town in Somalia, they shot 2 young Somalis for stealing, shot one in the head point blank, are brutally tortured a 16 year old Somalis, Shidane Arone. When the pictures of the torture made their way back to Canada, the nation was in shock. Doing Together What We Would Not Do Alone - When arousal (social facilitation) and diffused responsibility (social loafing) combine, acts can range from things like throwing food in the dining hall to group vandalism to things as destructive as police brutality, riots and mass suicide. - Deindividuation: loss of self-awareness and evaluation apprehension; occurs in group situations that foster anonymity and draw attention away from the individual Group Size - When groups are big, people think they’re not going to be noticed and prosecuted as an individual and feel anonymous and therefore take part in reckless behavior - When someone is about to jump from a building or bridge, during daylight when the crowd was small, people didn’t try to encourage the person. During nighttime though and when the crowd is big, people jeered and baited the person to jump - Since everyone is doing it, all can attribute their behavior to the situation rather than their own choices Physical anonymity - Philip Zimbardo’s experiment  he had women dress with a white robe and a full white covering (similar to the outfit worn by the Ku Klux Klan) and when asked to deliver shocks to another woman, they delivered longer shocks than did identifiable woman wearing nametags - The Internet also offers this type of anonymity and leads people to doing things they wouldn’t face to face with others - Experiment with confederate driving in a car and stopping for a while at the red light got honked 1/3 sooner, twice as often and nearly as long when the car behind her had a convertible with top up than those with top down. - Study with children during Halloween found that if children were told to take only one candy, and they confederate left the room, the children were more likely to steal more candy if they were in a group and were also combined with anonymity than when they were alone and were asked their names and where they lived before the confederate left the room - Uniforms like the ones used in the military could lead to anonymity that could lead to aggressive behavior like the violent torture of Shidane Arone - Physical anonymity doesn’t always result in our worst behavior: like in the experiment where the woman were dressed similarly to the Ku Klux Klan, when the study was repeated by maintaining anonymity but being dressed as nurses led to a decrease in aggression than those who had name tags and were identified - Being anonymous makes one less self-conscious and more responsive to cues present in the situation, whether negative (Klan uniforms) or positive (nurse uniforms) Arousing and Distracting Activities - Aggressive outbursts by crowds are preceded by minor actions that arouse and divert people’s attention. - Cult example of people sitting around and holding hands and chanting “choo-choo-choo”  made people feel like a group and felt belonging with everyone else - When we see others acting as we do, we think that they are feeling the way we and this reinforces our own feelings, good or bad - Impulsive group actions absorb our attention and causes us to not think about what we’re doing or our own values until later - Sometimes we take part in positive group activities like dancing or worship experiences in order to enjoy intense positive feelings and feel close to others. Diminished Self – Awareness - Self – awareness is the opposite of deindividuation: when people are made self aware by having to do something in front of a mirror, they display less reckless behavior; people made self aware by writing a test in front of a mirror are less likely to cheat - Those who have a strong sense of themselves as being distinct and independent don’t act reckless as often - In Japan, people are concerned and imagine as to how they look to others and this also leads them to cheat less (regardless of mirror) - People who are self-aware, or who are temporarily made so, exhibit greater consistency between their words outside a situation and their deeds in it. - Can also be seen when people are drunk: lose self-awareness and have in increase in deindividuation  leads to reckless behavior - Deindividuation is less likely to occur when self-awareness is high Group Polarization: Do Groups Intensify Our Opinions? - Group discussion often strengthens members’ initial inclinations: social and religious groups like minded people leads to increase in certain social beliefs and religious beliefs The Case of the “Risky Shift” - Experiment with people given scenarios regarding fictional individuals, such as Helen is a writer making a comfortable living off of writing cheap westerns, but she’s thinking about writing a novel that could become a huge success but comes with the risk of it being a failure in which case Helen would have lost a lot of valuable time. o Participants had to pick on a scale from 1 – 10 if they think she should write the novel  1 being she has 1 in 10 chances of becoming a success, and 10 being she as 10 in 10 chances of becoming successful  its to what point people think is ok to risk something, like would a 4 in 10 chances be ok o Found that after individuals rated stuff and were placed in a group to discuss and come to conclusive group decision on how much chance is required for Helen to choose to write the novel, found that groups decisions were riskier than individuals o This phenomenon is dubbed the “risky shift phenomenon” - The above experiment was repeated among those of different age groups, occupations and people in different nations and found to have the same result of groups making more risky choices. - Isn’t true for all situations however. Another fictional character, “Roger” led to different results. o Roger had a low paying job but enough for necessities just not for luxuries, had two young children. He found out that a company who’s stocks aren’t too expensive now have a chance of tripling if the value of their new product is received well, or decline considerably if the product isn’t received well. Roger would have to sell his life insurance policy in order to buy the stock  people were asked to the same as they were for Helen. o Found that generally, most people went with choosing to be less risky in Roger’s case. o When in a group discussion, the “Roger” dilemma became more risk – averse than they were before discussion  opposite result as for “Helen” dilemma Impact of Group Discussion on Individuals’ Opinions - Group phenomenon shows that individuals tend to enhance their own initial learning when in a group discussion - Group Polarization phenomenon: Discussion strengthens an attitude shared by group members. If people tend to favor risk – taking behavior before discussion, they favor it more after group discussion. And if people are more risk-averse before discussion, they become more risk – averse after group discussion Group Polarization Experiments - Experiments done with people sharing same opinions found: o French students who originally disliked Americans disliked them more after discussing with other French students o Canadian business students had to make choices on having to invest money to prevent the loss from failing project  72% reinvested money when doing it individually, when doing it after group discussion, 94% decided to reinvest - Found topics that had two very different viewpoints, like prejudice among high school students. And had them separated into groups based on the viewpoint they sided with (prejudiced in one group and those that aren’t in another group). Found that discussion among like minded individuals did increase initial gap between the two groups Group Polarization in Everyday Life - Most people associate with those who have similar opinions to their own - Group polarization in schools o Called “accentuation phenomenon” by education researchers o If students at University X are initially more intellectually thank those in University Y, that gap is likely to grow during university - Group polarization in communities o During community conflicts, like minded people group together leading to an enhancement of their opinions which then leads to further violence o Gangs also function in the same way: they do much more hostile and violent things in a group than they would individually - Group polarization on the internet o Internet makes it much easier for like-minded people to end up together / grouped together o Leads to things like geeks gathering together, but also people with violent beliefs to end up grouping with others that share their thoughts leading to an increase in their original beliefs Explaining Polarization - Two reasons given for group polarization: o Arguments presented during a group discussion (informational influence – ch 7) o Members view themselves as belonging to the group (normative influence – ch 6) Informational Influence and Group Polarization - People could end up being presented with new arguments regarding their own beliefs and these new supporting arguments for their belief could be
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