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Social Psychology Essay

2401 words - 10 pages

Social Influence
Social facilitation – The tendency for people to perform better on tasks in the presence of people than when alone.
Triplett 1898 found that cyclists rode faster when racing together than when alone because of the competitive element. He also tests this with children and how long it took them to turn a fishing wheel 150 times. Sometimes they were alone and sometimes together, and found that many children worked in co-action
CO-ACTION- people working together on the same task.
Allport also found college students work in co action completing more multiplication problems together and when Chen looked at ants he found they dig 3 times as faster
Allport said that competition ...view middle of the document...

These were Average or below average. The researcher recorded the number of successful shots of 6 average and 6 below average players. At this stage they didn’t know they were being observed. Then the researchers went up to the table so they knew.
Results- Players identified as average ability their shot accuracy increased by 9% whereas below average decreased by 11%
Conclusion- Presence of an audience results in social facilitation when the task is well known but with social inhibition when the task is more difficult.
Evaluation- Because of the natural setting it has high ecological validity. The participants were also unaware so they were less likely to demand characteristics. Lack of awareness raises ethical concerns such as invasion of privacy and lack of informed consent.

Similar findings were found in animal research. Zajonc 1969 put cockroaches into a run way. They had to run down a straight corridor into a darkened goal box to escape a bright light. Sometimes they ran in pairs and other times on their own. They reached the goal box more quickly when in pairs. When the task was made more difficult like having a right turn the cockroaches were faster on their own. The same results were found with an audience of cockroaches.

Evaluation of arousal theory
1) It doesn’t explain why a person who is very competent at a task can still perform poorly in front of an audience. This is better explained by the Yerkes – Dodson Law. According to this law, such a person may benefit from an audience to raise the arousal level but only up to the optimum level. Otherwise too much arousal can impair performance
2) It doesn’t acknowledge cognitive processes as important in a task For example what the presence of others might mean to the person doing the task. Results from animal studies suggest that these are not important. Though some believe the thought of competition in co action and the thought of being judged are important in social facilitation.

Evaluation Apprehension theory
Cottrell 1968 argued that it is not the presence of others that causes arousal but the apprehension/anxiety of being judged by others. Increased arousal in the presence of others is not an innate response but is rather a learned one. This is because people associate the presence of others with evaluations of their performance on a task. Thus the mere presence of others is not enough to raise arousal and the dominant response which follow.
Aim- To see if it is the thought being evaluated and judged that is necessary to produce the dominant response
Method- Performance on tasks, e.g. typing was assessed in 4 conditions
1) Alone- control condition
2) Presence of 2 experts
3) Presence of 2 non experts
4) Alone but filmed later for evaluation by experts
Results- facilitation of dominant only occurred in conditions 2 and 4. Performance was similar in conditions 1 and 3
Conclusion- some concern about evaluation is necessary...

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