Social facilitation theories

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  • Social facilitation
    • Arousal theory
      • Zajonc- people's presence arouses us, bringing out (typically correct) dominant responses so social facilitation occurs, but these tend to be incorrect in hard tasks- social inhibition occurs
      • /Michaels et al.- good pool players did better when they knew they were watched, but those below average did worse.             /Zajonc- running cockroaches did better on simple runways when watched, but not on complex runways
      • Doesn't acknowledge cognitive processes as important, and the Yerkes- Dodson law explains better why competent people can still do poorly before audiences
    • Distraction conflict theory
      • Impairs complex tasks, improves simple tasks. Applicable to any distracting stimulus
      • /Sanders et al.- participants doing digit-copying in co-action made more mistakes.        /studies on facilitation in animals support the theory
      • Baron- others distract attention between audience and task, resulting in response conflict. Leads to negative effect, and increased arousal making dominant responses more likely
      • How do we define what is distracting? Research has yet to identify distraction as the main cause of increased drive
    • Evaluation apprehension theory
      • There may be one cause of arousal in the presence, maybe not the only
      • Cottrell- apprehension of being evaluated causes arousal- a learned response. People associate presence with evaluations of their performance. The mere presence of others isn't enough to raise arousal and following dominant responses
      • Doesn't explain social facilitation in animals
      • /Henchy and Glass- participants had facilitation on tasks when they knew experts were going to/ would evaluate.         /in studies where the audience is blindfolded, no facilitation occurs

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