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Chapter 10

Psychology 2070A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Social Loafing, Deindividuation, Group Cohesiveness


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2070A/B
Professor
o
Chapter
10

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Chapter 10: Group Dynamics and Intergroup Relations
Individual Performance and Behaviour in Group Settings
Social Facilitation: The Effects of an Audience
- People perform better in the presence of other people on simple tasks and worse in
complex tasks
- Dominant Responses: they are the responses that are most likely to occur when the
person is alone
- Zajonc hypothesized that the presence of other people increases the probability of the
dominant responses on a task. (correct for a simple/well-practises task, and incorrect on a
hard/unknown task); these tendencies are heightened by the presence of other people
- Why? Because the presence of an audience causes physiological arousal which restricts
the range of attention. In a simple task it means the focus on a few cues blocks out
distractions, but in a complex task it makes it hard for the person to tend to all the cues
necessary for good performance
- STUDY: participants had to give correct response without knowing the critical number of
68. Performed better in front of people if they practised before (easy) then if they didn’t
(didn’t know the critical number so it was hard)
Social Loafing: Goofing Off When Others Can Do the Work
- Social Loafing: putting in less effort when working in a group where individual
contributions are unidentifiable (i.e. project where everyone gets the same grade)
- Involves relaxation/reduced motivation vs. arousal in social facilitation
- STUDY: people were told that they were cheering alone/in a group, and results showed
that they cheered quieter the more people they thought were cheering with them
- The larger the group, the less effort individuals exert on joint tasks
- Decreases if the group is important to its members (campaign for a political party), or if
it’s more cohesive/attractive (i.e. made up of friends)
- Men exert more social loafing then women- theorized that it’s because women are more
group oriented and are focused on group outcomes whereas men are individualistic
- Some evidence that there is more SL in individualist societies then collectivist ones
Deindividuation: Immersion in a Group
- State where people lose their sense of personal identity and feel immersed in a group;
they feel anonymus and can be caught up in the actions of those around them-makes
them more likely to engage in socially undesirable behaviour
- Weakens people’s inhibitions against acting in ways that violate norms, such as selfish or
aggressive behaviour (has been used as an excuse by lawyers for criminal behaviour)

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- STUDY: children on Halloween were asked to take ONE candy when either from a bowl.
Results showed that children were more likely to break the rules (take money and more
candy) when they were anonymous and in a group
- Prisons can induce deindividuation because the guards and prisoners all have uniforms
and don’t share their names.
- STUDY: Zimbardo simulated a prison and randomly assigned roles and rules for
guards/prisoners. Only lasted 6 days out of 14 because the guards became so vicious with
the prisoners claiming that they would otherwise not obey them
- Different perspective, is that deind. Increases people’s responsiveness to external cues,
such as features of a setting, and these cues might be prosocial in nature
- STUDY: Students in either KKK cloaks of nursing uniforms, with/without name tags were
asked to give recommendations as to intensity of electric shock to give. People with NO
nametags led to mare aggression in the KKK cloak (negative cue) but less aggression in
the nursing uniform (positive cue); thus, deindividuated people responded more
negatively or positively than identifiable people depending on situational cues
- Third perspective: large groups increase people’s adherence to emerging norms in that
group, which are sometimes aggressive/self-serving. E.g. a rally can turn into a riot not
because people become uninhibited but because the new norm of aggression against
authority emerges, and since people feel a part of the group, they adopt the norm
- Occurs during internet communication (chat rooms) where people say things that they
would never say to someone in person (sexual fantasies)
Decision Making In Groups
Groupthink: Bad decisions because of pressure to agree
- Bad decisions can be made when the decision is either really hard, or there is lack of
expertise
- Groupthink: when pressure to agree leads to inadequate apprsaisal of options and poor
decisions. Happens because everyone wants to agree with the leader/one another, they
don’t express their reservations and since nobody does they assume everyone strongly
supports the decision
- Group cohesiveness: strength of the force on members to remain in the group
- In highly cohesive groups, members want to remain in the group so they are more likely to
conform
- Could have good consequences too: work harder, make sacrifices for the group, and
survive difficult times together
- A directive leader openly expressed their feelings and leads the discussion making it
harder to disagree with them; their influence increases in high stress situations- not to
“rock the boat”
- The 8 symptoms of groupthink:

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oAn illusion of invulnerability- groups that feel invincible make high risk decisions
oRationalization of warnings- when potential problems are seen as harmless
oAn unquestioned belied in the inherent morality of the group- don’t realize when
self-interest clouds their decisions because a group assumes that they are
inherently moral
oStereotyped views of enemy leaders- don’t negotiate, and underestimate them
oPressure on group members who challenge the consensus
oSelf-censorship of misgivings, questions, and counterarguments
oAn illusion of unanimity- members believe that everyone agrees with a tentative
decision
oEmergence of self-appointed mindguards- self- appointed group members who
protect the “mind” of the leader by shielding them from criticism
- Strategies to avoid groupthink:
oLeaders should remain quiet throughout the discussion, allowing other members to
express their opinions before sharing their own
oA norm of openness should be established in the group; members are rewarded for
raising questions- even appointing a devil’s advocate in a meeting is helpful
Outside experts should be invited to meeting to share their ideas
oSTUDY: confederate was trained to lead a group in a directive/undirective way and
found that groups with directive leaders used less information and produces less
possible solutions
Group Polarization: Moving Toward the Majority View
- Group Polarization: the tendency of group discussion to strengthen the initial leanings of
the group
- i.e. initial vote for professor and after discussion showed that the one that was least
favoured initially, was not chosen AT ALL after the discussion, thus strengthening the start
majority
- contributes to intergroup hostility by strengthening stereotypes
- STUDY: students were given fake facts about a group of boys that emphasized negative
qualities and reported their stereotypes. The ones that were able to talk to other BEFORE
reporting their stereotypes have MUCH higher ratings of the negative qualities that they
were told before the discussion
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