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Chapter 7

PSY220H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Robert Zajonc, Social Loafing, Complex Multiplication

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Jason Plaks

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Chapter 7: Group Influence
Group: Two or more people who interact and influence one another
Norman Triplett: Found that cyclists ride faster in the presence of others vs alone; Also found that children told to reel
in fishing reels were must faster in the presence of other children versus alone
Social Facilitation: The strengthening of dominant responses owing to the presence of others
- Other studies reveal that the presence of others hinders performance. Ex; Cockroaches learn mazes more slowly
in the presence of others; Another example in humans:
- The presence of others diminishes efficiency at learning nonsense syllables, completing a maze and performing
complex multiplication problems
Robert Zajonc:
- Found that arousal enhances whatever response tendency is dominant
- Ireased arousal ehaes perforae o easy tasks for whih the ost likely doiat respose is orret
- On complex tasks for which correct answer is not dominant increased arousal promotes incorrect responding
- Conclusion: Social arousal facilitates dominant responses boosts performance on easy tasks and hurts
performance on difficult tasks
Why are we aroused in the presence of others? Three possible factors
Evaluation Apprehension: Concern for how others are evaluating us
Cottrell Experiment examined facilitation for the pronunciation of nonsense syllables and easy to pronounce syllables;
ex; joggers on a jogging path sped as they came upon a woman seated on the grass (if woman is facing them versus not
facing them)
Driven by distraction: When people wonder how co-actors are dong or how an audience is reacting, they get
distractedthis conflict between paying attention to others and to the task overloads our cognitive system, causing
arousal; arousal not only comes from presence of another person but even from a non-human distraction, such as light
Mere presence: Zajonc believed mere presence of others produces some arousal even without evaluation apprehension
or arousing distractionex; most runners are energized when running without competition or evaluation
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
- Ex; people pulled a rope harder when alone versus when they believed others were pulling alongside them
- People shouted/clapped louder alone versus in a group
- Group situation such as rope pulling and shouting decreases evaluation apprehension; when people are not
accountable and cannot evaluate their own efforts responsibility is diffused across all group members
- Being observed increases evaluation concerns and social facilitation occurs; being unidentifiable decreases
evaluation and social loafing occurs
- People are motivated to slack off when their efforts are not individually monitored and rewarded welcomes
free riders
When tasks are challenging, appealing or involving social loafing decreases
- When people see others in their group as unreliable social loafing decreases
- Adding incentives, challenging a group to strive for certain standards, rewards, having friends within the group,
going to see individuals within group again and cohesiveness in the group all DECREASE social loafing
Deindividualization: loss of self-awareness and evaluation apprehension; occurs in group situation that foster
anonymity and draw attention away from the individual
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