PSYB2 revision notes on Social facilitation, Memory and Individual differences

Thought I would share my revision notes with everyone else as it does save alot of time not having to write them out yourself and I wish someone had done this before for me. 

Notes include studies and evaluations. 

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  • Created on: 18-01-13 23:58
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Psychology Revision Sheet PSYB2 ­ SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Social Facilitation
Social facilitation is concerned with how and why activity is increased when others are present.
E.G athletes run faster if an audience is watching, and even cockroaches learn to navigate a maze faster if watched by
other roaches.
Coaction effects refer to the presence of others independently carrying out the same task at the same time, which
usually facilitates performance.
Triplett (1898) found cyclists rode faster when racing with others, and that children could reel a fishing line faster in
pairs then when on their own.
The presence of others seems to enhance performance, but this is only true of well-learned or automatic behaviours.
Studies have shown that the presence of others can inhibit behaviour that is not well learned or is complex.
Study: Schmitt et al. (1986) - Schmitt et al. requested participants to perform two tasks:
(a) An easy task, typing their name into a computer;
(b) A difficult task, typing their name backwards, with numbers inserted between each letter.
An audience facilitated performance on the easy task but inhibited performance on the difficult task.
This study showed that task difficulty determined whether an audience facilitated or inhibited performance.
Zajonc (1965) proposed a drive theory of social facilitation. He suggested that spectators create an innate response
in performers, known as `arousal', which prepares a person to respond. The presence of others increases arousal,
which increases a person's tendency to perform dominant responses. Dominant responses refer to the behaviour
that we are most likely to perform in a given situation. If a person is highly skilled, his or her dominant response will
be to perform well, and this accurate behaviour will be facilitated by spectators. When someone is learning a new
skill, the dominant response will be to make errors, and his or her performance will be inhibited by spectators.
The Yerkes-Dodson Law predicts an inverted U-shaped function between arousal and performance. It suggests that
as arousal increases, performance increases, but that a point is reached where increased arousal leads to a decrease
in performance. Different tasks necessitate different levels of arousal, and there is an optimal level for each task.
There are two distinctive factors to the Yerkes-Dodson Law: the upward portion of the inverted `U' is positive effect
of arousal, while the downward part is the negative effect of arousal. The highest point in the `U' shape is the optimal
level of arousal for that task.
Evaluation Apprehension was proposed by Cottrell (1972)
to explain how, when we are in the presence of other
people, we are concerned that they may be judging us.
When we think that someone is evaluating our
performance, arousal occurs and a well-learned task
can be enhanced. However, on a difficult task, arousal may
be too high and performance inhibited.
Study: Baris et at. (1988) ­ Evaluation apprehension was investigated by Baris et al. One group of participants had to think of
as many different uses for a knife as possible, while a second group has to think only of creative uses for a knife. Half the
participants in each group were told that their performance would be collected together as a group, while the other half in
each group were in the `evaluation apprehension condition' and were told that their individual performance would be
identified. Participants in the `evaluation apprehension condition' performed less well on the complex task requiring creativity
but were superior on the simpler task of identifying uses for a knife. This showed that evaluation apprehension facilitated
performance on a simple task but inhibited performance on a complex task
Baron (1986) has proposed an alternative explanation for social facilitation: the distraction-conflict model. Other people
present when a task is being performed can be distracting, and some attention is lost from the task. A response conflict
occurs between attending to the task and the audience, which has a negative effect on task performance. At the same time,
response conflict increases arousal, leading to a Dominant response, which facilitates performance on a simple task but
inhibits performance of a more difficult task. The negative effects of distraction outweigh the positive effects of arousal and
motivation on difficult tasks.

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The tasks that the participants perform in studies of social facilitation are often artificial and may lack ecological
Audiences in studies of social facilitation are usually quiet, and therefore may not reflect the nature of audiences or
co-actors in the real world
The evaluation apprehension explanation is not supported by studies that show how, even when members of an
audience wear blindfolds and are therefore unable to judge, the performance is still affected.…read more

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The credibility of the set-up: Perhaps participants were aware that the learner received no electric shock; i.e. the
set-up was not credible. However this is unlikely because in a study where participants had to give real electric shocks
to puppies, obedience was 75% (Sheridan and King)
Demand characteristics: Participants in an experimental setting often respond in the way they do because they
want to `please' the experimenter, but in the real world they might respond differently.…read more

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Models of memory
It is useful to think of memory as consisting of three stages or processes:
Encoding ­ the initial registration of information into memory.
Storage ­ memories are held for a period of time
Retrieval ­ this is the ability to access the stored memories when needed
Multi-store model of memory
The multi-store model of memory (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968) distinguishes between the structural components of a
short-term memory store and a long-term memory store, and memory processes such as rehearsal and coding.…read more

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Central executive: controls and monitors the other components (slave systems). Has limited storage capacity but can
process incoming auditory and visual information, enabling CE to allocate tasks to slave components. It also has the
ability to gather and co-ordinate info from LTM.
Visuo spatial sketchpad: stores visual and spatial info (inner eye) ­ visualising things.…read more

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Decay theory of forgetting
When we learn something, a group of nerve cells in the brain become active leaving a neural representation of what we have
learnt. (A memory trace). Over time with rehearsal and repetition the trace becomes stronger and more permanent. This
process is called consolidation. According to this theory says that forgetting in the LTM is caused by decay of the trace
through tissue. So if the knowledge is not used the engram will eventually decay away.…read more

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It cannot be due to failure of taking in
information as it was available for recall at the start.
Neuroscientists have recently found evidence for the spontaneous reactivation of learning in the brain of mice. If this
process of activation Is disrupted then memories cannot be considered
Evidence for consolidation theory comes from patients who have been concussed who often suffer a loss of memory
for events just prior to the concussion.…read more

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Social phobia for specific situations ­ panic will arise if the individual is faced with such a social situation, so these
are avoided wherever possible.
Agoraphobia ­ this is the most serious phobic disorder. It is associated with a fear of leaving home, being in a crowd,
visiting public places, travelling on buses, planes etc., or a fear of having a panic attack in a public place and being
unable to find help. It can lead to the sufferer becoming housebound.…read more

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Under estimating the ability to cope- I'd never be able to cope in a wheel chair
An agoraphobic person is hypersensitive to spatial layouts in the environment and if they are too far away from a caretaker.
If access to home or caretaker is blocked then an agoraphobic has an urge to go home
Beck et al:
-agoraphobics possess hidden phobias of situations that may potentially be dangerous to children but are not dangerous to
adults, e.g.…read more

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Common themes are ideas (germs everywhere), doubts, impulses (to shout
out obscenities) or images.
Compulsions ­ repetitive behaviours or mental acts that reduce anxiety or prevent something bad from happening.
Includes overt behaviours, like hand washing or checking, and mental acts, like counting or praying. Most OCD
sufferers recognise their compulsions as unreasonable, but believe something bad will happen if they don't perform
that behaviour. These can also create anxiety.…read more


Zee Hicks

reaaally good! it has everything in for the exam. only criticism is that it doesn't include pictures of the memory models, but it does include details on all of them. definetely using! thank you :)

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