8. Social facilitation and inhibition

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  • Social facilitation and inhibition
    • The presence of co-actors increases arousal. This may have a positive or negative effect on performance
    • When the presence of co-actors increases the quality of performance, social facilitation has taken place
    • When the presence of co-actors reduces the quality of performance, social inhibition has taken place
    • Drive theory of social facilitation
      • ZAJONC
      • There are 2 types of audience;  passive others (quiet audience,& non-threatening fellow performers) and interactive others (competitors & emotive supporters)
      • He believes the mere presence of others (passive) is sufficient to increase arousal
      • The presence of others increases arousal and increases the production of dominant responses
      • High arousal is beneficial at the autonomous stage of learning as dominant responses are of better quality and are aesthetically pleasing
      • High arousal is most likely to bring about social facilitation amongst autonomous performers but social inhibition in associative and cognitive learners
      • His theory is supported by the belief that arousal caused by an audience is a natural innate reaction
      • MARTENS
        • Confirmed Zajonc's predictions that the presence of an audience increased arousal
        • Increased arousal impaired the learning of complex skills and facilitated the performance of over-learned skills
      • EVAL: LANDERS & McCULLAGE: sports skills were learned more effectively by an individual when in the presence of co-actors who were also learners but of 'slightly superior ability'
        • The learning of motor skills therefore can be enhanced by the presence of co-actors while the attention of the audience will inhibit learning
    • Evaluation apprehension
      • COTTRELL
      • The mere presence of others was not sufficiently arousing to bring about social facilitation
      • Increases in arousal only occur when the performer feels they are being assessed or judged by an audience
      • The perceived evaluation of an audience inhibits performance
      • Some athletes however may rely on evaluation to stimulate arousal and may therefore have a facilitatingneffect
    • The home advantage effect
      • Large supportive home crowds are believed to provide the home team with an advantage
      • This effect seems to become stronger as the size of the home crowd increaases
    • Proximity effect
      • SHWARTZ
      • Location of the audience is an important factor in facilitation
      • The performer will experience the proximity effect more intensely if the audience is close
      • Most evident in indoor sports
      • The proximity of the audience may have a facilitating or inhibiting effect
      • The outcome is determined by the type of skill and also the personality, stage of learning and experience of the performer
    • Distraction- conflict theory
      • BARON
      • The limitations of the performers attentional capacity can explain the effect of an aqudience
      • Attention can only be given to a limited number of stimuli
      • Spectators demand the same amount of attention as would data from the sports situation
      • This added distraction is more competition for attentional space
      • Simple tasks requiring little attention are performed best in front of an audience
    • Strategies to combat the effects of social inhibition in practical activites
      • Selective attention narrows focus onto relevant cues
      • Mental rehearsal and imagery could enhance concentration and help to block out audience
      • Positive self-talk  to block out negative thoughts brought on by the audience
      • Practice in the presence of an audience to help performer become accustomed to high arousal levels
      • Over-learn correct responses so they become dominant responses when arousal is high
      • Confidence-building strategies should implement high self-efficacy and reduce inhibition
      • Positive reinforcement from coach and team mates will reduce anxiety brought on by audience
      • Appropriate use of attribution to build confidence


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