Social Facilitation.


Psychology (Social Influence.) Mind Map on Social Facilitation., created by Stephanie Price on 05/24/2013.
Stephanie Price
Mind Map by Stephanie Price, updated more than 1 year ago
Stephanie Price
Created by Stephanie Price about 10 years ago

Resource summary

Social Facilitation.
  1. Social facilitation is where your performance at a task or a sport is affected by the mere presence of other people.
    1. Depending on certain factors, performance may be either enhanced or made worse by the presence of others.
      1. Social facilitation effects can be found for many types of behaviour.
      2. Research Study: Triplett (1898)
        1. Triplett.
          1. Published one of the first experiments in social psychology.
            1. This study was based on the observation that competing cyclists produced faster times when racing wither another cyclist, rather than simply competing on their own against the clock.
              1. Triplett's findings show that cyclists were slowest when racing alone and fastest when racing with a pacemaker or in a racing group.
          2. Early findings with respect to performance in the presence of others seem to be contradictory; sometimes performance is enhanced, but at other times it is worse.
            1. Examples:- Allport (1924), Dashiell (1930), Schmitt et al (1986) and Zajonc et al (1969) using animals.
              1. Zajonc (1965) put forward a theory to explain these apparently contradictory finding. Dominant Responses.
              2. Dominant Responses.
                1. The rule that Zajonc observed was that performance of a well-learned or well-practiced task is enhanced by the presence of other people.
                  1. In contrast, performance of new or complex tasks is inhibited by the presence of other people.
                    1. In other words, 'performance is facilitated and learning is impaired by the presence of spectators' (Zajonc 1965).
                  2. Zajonc used the term dominant response to refer to behaviour we are most likely to perform in a given situation.
                    1. He claimed that dominant responses are facilitated by the presence of other people. When a person has learned a behaviour or is highly skilled at a particular task, then this is their dominant response.
                      1. E.g. A world-class basketball player who is skilled at throwing the ball through the hoop can be regarded as having this as a dominant response. The player would have practiced this behaviour again and again. In a match, therefore, the presence of both other players and the audience enhances or facilitates this dominant response.
                        1. The player will pass more balls through the hoop in front of an audience than when training alone.
                          1. By contrast, if someone was learning to touch-type using all their fingers: this person would not be skilled at touch-typing, so it would not be a dominant response. In front of other people, the person learning to touch-type would make many more errors than if they were learning on their own.
                    2. Research Study: Michaels et al. (1982)
                      1. Social Facilitation and Arousal.
                        1. Causes of Arousal.
                          1. Evaluation Apprehension.
                            1. An explanation put forward by Cottrell (1972), revolves around the idea that, when in the presence of others, we are concerned that they are evaluating our performance.
                              1. When performing a task in the presence of others, Cottrell claimed that people experience evaluation apprehension.
                                1. The effect of evaluation apprehension on a simple or well-learned task produces arousal, which results in the performance being enhanced. For a new or complex task, evaluation apprehension increases arousal to a very high level, with the consequence that performance is worse than when alone.
                                2. Research Study: Bartis et al. (1988)
                                3. Distraction.
                                  1. Saunders (1983) proposed an explanation of social facilitation based on the idea that the presence of other people creates a distraction to the person attempting to perform the task.
                                    1. This, in turn, interferes with the amount of attention the person can give to the task. The person then experiences a conflict between whether to attend to the task or to the audience.
                                      1. This over conflict over what to attend to produces an increase in arousal, thus facilitating performance on simple or dominant tasks, and inhibiting performance on complex or non-dominant tasks.
                                    2. The distraction-conflict theory of social facilitation may also help to explain the results from studies using non-human animals. Social facilitation has been shown to occur in ants and cockroaches (Zajonc et al. 1969). This is hardly likely to be due to evaluation apprehension.
                                      1. The presence of other animals of the same species may be distracting and hence may draw attention away from the task the animal is trying to perform.
                                      2. Research Study: Saunders et al (1978)
                                    3. Effects of Arousal.
                                      1. Zajonc put forward the drive theory of social facilitation.
                                        1. This states that the presence of other people increases a person's general level of arousal (we become more energised and alert); this, in turn, increases the tendency to perform dominant responses.
                                          1. Generally, when arousal is low, such as when we are sleepy, performance at tasks tends to be poor. Similarly, when we are very highly aroused, we show signs of panic and disorganisation, which also results in poor performance.
                                            1. Performance tends to be optimum when arousal is moderate.
                                          2. Zajonc's drive theory of social facilitation suggests that the presence of others when performing dominant responses increases arousal to an optimum level for performance. The presence of others increases arousal level to cause better performance of a dominant response.
                                            1. Optimum level of arousal is different for new and well-learned tasks.
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