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Chapter 8

PSYB10H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Social Loafing, Social Facilitation, Groupthink

Course Code
Elizabeth Page- Gould

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What is a Group?
Group is defined as a collection of two or more people who interact
with each other and are interdependent, in the sense that their needs
and goals cause them to rely on one another
Why Do People Join Groups?
Forming relationships with other people fulfills a number of basic
human needs
oThere may be an innate need to belong to social groups
Groups also become an important part of our identity, helping us
define who we are—and in defining who we expect to be in the future
Groups also play an important role in motivating people to become
involved in social change
The Composition and Functions of Groups
Groups to which you belong probably vary in size from two or three
members to several dozen members—most social groups range from
two to six members
If groups become too large, you cannot interact with all of the
members—which is a feature of groups
Social Norms
Social norms are a powerful determinant of our behaviour
Social Roles
Social roles are shared expectations about how particular people are
suppose to behave
Roles can be helpful, because people know what to expect from each
other and the members who follow a set of clearly defined roles tend
to be satisfied and perform well
Potential costs to social roles:
oPeople can get so into a role that their personal identity and
personality are lost
E.g. Stanford university mock prison experiment
Most of us would be unable to resist the social influences
in these powerful situations, and perhaps would perform
acts we thought we were incapable of performing
oActing inconsistently with the expectation associated with those
roles may cause severe consequences
Gender Roles
Very problematic when they are arbitrary or unfair
In many cultures, women are expected to assume the role of wife and
mother- with only limited opportunities to pursue other careers
Women who are often expected to maintain the traditional role of
childrearer and household manager
oConflict arise because they have to do it all—the household work
and job
Research showed that the more husbands engage in household chores
and errands, the better the wives’ emotional health

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Group Cohesiveness
Group cohesiveness is defined as qualities of a group that bind
members together and promote liking among them
A group formed primarily for social reasons are more likely to be a
cohesive group
Drawback: group member’s concerns with maintaining good relations
can get in the way
How Groups Influence the Behaviour of Individuals
Social Facilitation: When the Presence of Others Energizes Us
The presence of other people can mean two things:
o(1) performing a task with others who are doing the same thing
you are
o(2) performing a task in front of an audience that is not doing
anything except observing you
Studies using cockroaches:
oResearchers placed bright light (which cockroaches dislike) at
the end of a runway and timed how long it took a roach to
escape the light by running to the other end (to the dark)
oThe individual cockroach performed the task faster when they
were in the presence of other roaches than when they were by
Simple versus Difficult Tasks
When working on a more difficult task, the opposite pattern of results
Arousal and the Dominant Response
The presence of others increases physiological arousal (bodies become
more energized)
When such arousal exists, it is easier to do something that is simple
(dominant response) but harder to do something complex or learn
something new
Social facilitation is the tendency for people to do better on simple
tasks, but worse on complex tasks when they are in the presence of
others and their individual performance can be evaluated
Why the Presence of Others Causes Arousal
Other people cause us to become particularly alert and vigilant
oPresence of another person requires us to be alert to the
possibility that he or she will do something that requires us to
They make us apprehensive about how we’re being evaluated
oEvaluation apprehension is the concern about being judged
And they distract us from the task at hand
oPresence of others or any source of distraction will put us in a
state of conflict, because it is difficult to concentrate on what we
are doing
Social Loafing: When the Presence of Others Relaxes Us
If being with other people means we can merge into group, becoming
less noticeable than when we are alone, we should become relaxed
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