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Chapter 7

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Christine Zaza

Chapter 7 – Group Influence - Group – two or more people who, for longer than a few moments, interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as ‘us’ o Different groups help us meet different human needs – to affiliate, to achieve, and to gain a social identity - Co-Actors – a group of people working simultaneously and individually on a non-competitive task - The presence of others improves the speed with which people do simple multiplication problems and cross out designated letters o It also improves the accuracy with which people perform simple motor tasks - 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 - Some tasks the presence of others hinders performance - The presence of others diminishes efficiency at learning nonsense syllables, completing a maze, and performing complex multiplication problems - Arousal enhances whatever response tendency is dominant o Increased arousal enhances performance on easy tasks for which the most likely – ‘dominant’ – response is correct o People solve easy anagrams faster when they are anxious o On complex tasks for which the correct answer is not dominant, increased arousal promotes incorrect responding o On harder anagrams, people do worse when anxious - If social arousal facilitates dominant responses, it should boost performance on easy tasks and hurt performance on difficult tasks - Social arousal facilitates dominant responses, whether right or wrong - With others present, people perspire more, breathe faster, tense their muscles more, and have higher blood pressure and a faster heart rate - The effect of others’ presence increases with their number o Sometimes the arousal and self-conscious attention created by a large audience interferes even with well=learned automatic behaviours o Given extreme pressure, we’re vulnerable to ‘choking’ - Being in a crowd also intensifies positive or negative reactions o When they sit close together, friendly people are liked even more, and unfriendly people are disliked even more o Crowding also enhances arousal - What is it about other people that creates arousal? o There is evidence to support three possible factors  Evolution apprehension  Observers make us apprehensive because we wonder how they are evaluating us  Evaluation Apprehension – concern for how others are evaluating us  The enhancement of dominant responses is strongest when people think they are being evaluated  The self-consciousness we feel when being evaluated can also interfere with behaviours that we perform best automatically  Distraction  Conflict between paying attention to others and paying attention to the task overloads the cognitive system, causing arousal  We are ‘driven by distraction’  Mere presence  The mere presence of others produces some arousal even without evaluation apprehension or arousing distraction  A good theory also offers clear predictions that (1) help confirm or modify the theory, (2) guide new exploration, and (3) suggest practical application - Social facilitation usually occurs when people work toward individual goals and when their efforts can be individually evaluated - 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 o No one admits to doing the loafing o Evident in countries such as Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, India, and Malaysia o People in collectivist cultures do exhibit less social loafing than do people in individualist cultures - Free Riders – people who benefit from the group but give little in return - To motivate group members, one strategy is to make individual performance identifiable o Whether in a group or not, people exert more effort when their outputs are individually identifiable - 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 o So people may be motivated to slack off when their efforts are not individually monitored and rewarded o Situations that welcome free riders can be a ‘paradise for parasites’ - People in groups loaf less when the task is challenging, appealing, or involving o On challenging tasks, people may perceive their efforts as indispensable o When people see others in their group as unreliable or as unable to contribute much, the work harder o Adding incentives or challenging a group to strive for certain standards also promotes collective effort o Group members will work hard when convinced that high effort will bring rewards - Groups also loaf less when their members are friends or are identified with or indispensible to their group - Social loafing is common when group members work without individual accountability; so it would seem that many hands need not always make light work - Group situations may cause people to lose self-awareness, with resulting loss of individuality and self-restraint - Social facilitation experiments show that groups can arouse people - Social loafing experiments show that groups can diffuse responsibility - Unrestrained behaviours have something in common: they are somehow provoked by the power of a group o Groups can generate a sense of excitement, of being caught up in something bigger than one’s self - Deindividuation – loss of self-awareness and evaluation apprehension; occurs in group situations that foster anonymity and draw attention away from the individual - A group has the power not only to arouse its members but also to render them unidentifiable - Online communities ‘are like the crown outside the building with the guy on the ledge’ o ‘The anonymous nature of these communities only emboldens the meanness or callousness of the people on these sites’ - Becoming physically anonymous does not always unleash our worst impulses - Aggressive outbursts by large crowds are often preceded by minor actions that arouse and direct people’s attention - There is a self-reinforcing pleasure in doing an impulsive act while ob
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