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Social Facilitation
· Social facilitation is where your performance at a task is affected by the
presence of other people.
· Depending on certain factors, performance may be either enhanced or
made worse by the presence of others.
· Over a hundred years ago Triplett published one of the first experiments in
social psychology.
· The study was based on the observation that competing cyclists produced
faster times when racing with another cyclist, rather then competing on
their own against a clock.
· He compared times taken by cyclists to cover certain distances in three
different conditions; alone, with another cyclist and in a racing group.
· He found that cyclists were slowest when racing alone and fastest when
racing with a pacemaker or in a racing group.…read more

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Social Facilitation
Aim Triplett (1898) devised a laboratory task to investigate
whether or not performance would be enhanced in the
presence of other people performing the same task.
Method Participants were asked to wind in a line on a fishing reel as
fast as they could. Participants did this both alone and in
pairs and each trial participants were timed to determine
how long it took to wind the reel.
Results Performance was faster in the presence of another person
than when the task was performed alone.
Conclusion Participants' performance at the task was enhanced or
facilitated by the presence of another person performing the
same task.…read more

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Dominant Responses
· Zajonc (1965) put forward a theory that a well-practised or well-learned task
is enhanced by the presence of other people.
· In contrast, performance of new or complex tasked is inhibited by the
presence of other people.
· Zajonc used the term dominant response to refer to behaviour we are most
likely to perform in a given situation.
· 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 this is their dominant response.…read more

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Dominant Response
Aim Michaels (1982) conducted a study to test the prediction that
the presence of an audience would facilitate well-learned
behaviours and inhibit poorly learned behaviours
Method In the first part of the study, student pool players were
observed. Twelve players were then selected; six were
identified as above average and six below average at
playing pool. In the second part of the study, the players
were observed for a number of games.
Results The above-average players potted 80% of shots successfully
when observed and 71% when not.
The below-average players potter 25% of shots successfully
when observed and 36% when not.
Conclusion The presence of an audience resulted in performances being
affected. The dominant response of skilled pool players is to
pot balls, and the dominant response of unskilled players is
to miss shots and not pot balls.…read more

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Social Facilitation & Arousal
· Zajonc also put forward the drive theory of social facilitation.
· This states that the presence of other people increases a person's level of
arousal (we become more alert and energised) and this increases our
tendency to perform dominant responses.
· When arousal is low performance of task tends to be poor.
· When we are very highly aroused, we show signs of panic and
disorganisation, which also results in poor performance.
· Performance tends to be optimum when arousal is moderate.
· 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.…read more

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