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Chapter 7

PSY220H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Pluralistic Ignorance, Charismatic Authority, Life Insurance


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY220H1
Professor
Jason Plaks
Chapter
7

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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” (they must be interacting with each other)
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 (this section asks can the presence of others or co-actors affect our behaviour)
The Mere Presence of Others
Experiment: Children were asked to wing string on a fishing reel as fast as possible. Children
wound faster in the presence of others.
Other experiments such as doing simple multiplication problems, crossing out designated letters,
and simple motor tasks also improved in the presence of others. But some tasks, like doing
complex multiplication problems or completing a maze, become hindered in the presence of
others.
Another scientist (Zajonc) came along to settle this seemingly contradictory findings: It was well
known at the time that arousal enhances whatever response tendency is dominant (so easy tasks
are done better with people around because people can usually do these tasks anyway but harder
tasks are done slower since they are normally hard anyway)
S: Home teams do better at home due to feelings of dominance
Social facilitation (1) Original meaning: the tendency of people to perform simple or well
learned tasks better when others are present; (2) Current meaning: The strengthening of
dominant (prevalent, likely) responses owing to the presence of others (presence of others
causing arousal)
Crowding: The Presence of Many Others
The presence of others (crowding) causes arousal people sweat more, breath faster, faster heart
rate, high blood pressure.
Being in a crowd also intensifies positive or negative reactions. When people sit close together, a
friendly person on the stage is liked even more and an unfriendly person on stage is disliked even
more. Ex. 35 students sitting in a class of just 35 seats (all close together) feels a lot warmer and
livelier than 35 students spread across 100 seats.
Experiment: A group of 10 people placed in a small room vs a large room. The 10 people
in the small room had higher heart rate and blood pressure (indicating arousal). They
made more errors on difficult tasks.
Therefore, crowding has a similar effect to being observed by a crowd; it enhances arousal which
facilitates dominant responses.
Why are we aroused in the presence of others?
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1. Evaluation apprehension Concern for how others are evaluating us
Experiment: Participants performed easy tasks in the presence of others. In one condition, the
observers were blind folded and in another they were not. Participants did the easy task better
when observers were not blindfolded. Therefore, the enhancement of dominant responses is
strongest when people think they are being evaluated.
Note: being self-conscious can impede performances on things we do easily when being watched
2. Driven by distraction Scientists theorized that when people wonder how co-actors are doing
or how an audience is reacting, they get distracted. This conflict between paying attention to
others and paying attention to the task overloads our cognitive system, causing arousal. Also
driven by non-human distractions (ex. flashing lights)
3. Mere presence The book says that social facilitation effects occurs in non-human animals
like cockroaches. They probably do not feel evaluation apprehension. Thus, there could be an
innate social arousal mechanism common to the animal kingdom.
Overall note: Social facilitation usually occurs when people work toward individual goals and
when their efforts can be individually evaluated
Social Loafing: Do individuals exert less effort in a group?
Many Hands Make Light Work
Experiment: To remove confounds (such as lower inefficiency due to physics when more than
one person is working with an apparatus), a scientist created a tug of rope apparatus. Participants
pulled the rope 18% harder when they thought they were pulling by themselves than when they
thought others were pulling 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.
E: Put people in a semi circle formation, put headphones on them and tell them to clap and shout
as loud as possible. They were asked to either clap alone or with the others. People who were
told about the experiment predicted they would clap and shout louder with the others. The actual
result: They clapped and shouted louder by themselves than with a group (due to social loafing).
Interestingly, when asked, people don’t think they themselves are participating in social loafing
(they honestly think they are putting as much effort by themselves than when with a group)
When people know they are being individually monitored they work harder (than when they
think their efforts were being pooled and can’t be identified)
Free-ride Benefiting from the group, but giving little in return.
Tying this in to evaluation apprehension: In social loafing experiments, individuals feel they are
being evaluated only when they act alone. The group situation (rope pulling) decreases
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evaluation apprehension. When they are not accountable and cannot evaluate their own efforts,
responsibility is diffused across all group members. Social facilitation experiments increased
exposure to evaluation. When being observed increases evaluation concerns, social facilitation
occurs; when being lost in a crowd decreases evaluation concerns, social loafing occurs.
(diagram p. 241)
Social Loafing in Everyday Life
S: In communist countries, they produced more output per individual on their own private plots
than in the communal plots.
Social loafing occurs less in collectivist cultures than individualistic
When rewards are divided equally, regardless of how much one contributes to the group, any
individual gets more reward per unit of effort by free-riding on the group. So people may be
motivated to slack off when their efforts are not individually monitored AND when they are all
rewarded equally.
However, social loafing doesn’t always occur: When a task is challenging, appealing, or
involving, people will loaf less (individuals perceive their individual effort as absolutely
necessary).
Adding incentives or challenging a group to strive for certain standards also promotes collective
effort (people will increase their efforts when they see others are unreliable and thus it is
challenging).
Groups also load less when their members are friends or people they regularly see (you will work
harder with people you see often than with people you will only see once) cohesiveness
Deindividuation: When do people lose their sense of self in groups?
Doing Together What We Would Not Do Alone
When arousal and diffused responsibility combine and normal inhibitions diminish, the results
are scary.
Deindividuation Loss of self-awareness and evaluation apprehension; occurs in group
situations that foster anonymity and draw attention away from the individual (what happens here
is people will do crazy things when in a group such as set multiple cars on fire in a riot). What
circumstances elicit this?
1. Group size A group not only has the power to arouse its members but also to render them
unidentifiable. People will do bad things because they act as if they won’t be identified; as if
their actions are not their own but of the group’s.
2. Physical anonymity People will do worse things when they are anonymous (experiment:
Participants covered in white KKK coats electrocuted people worse than if they were not
wearing coats and had large name tags)
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