Social facilitation

social facilitation - includes studies


Social Facilitation

Social facilitation -The tendency for people to perform better on tasks in the presence of others than when alone

Arousal theory of social facilitation

  • According to Zajonc, Arousal acts as a drive which brings out the Dominant response.
  • In a well practiced task, the dominant response tends to be correct so social facilitation occurs
  • In a more difficult task, the dominant responsetends to be incorrect so social inhibition occurs
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Micheals et al (1982)

  • Aim: To investigate the presence of an audience on the performance of an average and bellow average pool players
  • Method: Students at a student union were observed from a distance and classified as average and bellow average. Resaearchers recorded the number of shots by six average and six bellow average players. Four researchers then walked up to the tables of the players so it was obvious that they were observing.
  • Results: The players who were average in ability increasedin their shot accuracy by 9%, whereas those who were bellow average decreased by 11%.
  • Conclusion: The presence of an audience results in Social facilitation when the task is well known, but social inhibition when the task is unknown
  • Evaluation: increased in ecological validity as it is in a natural setting. less likely to demand characteristics as they were unaware of the study. but this dose produce Ethical issues as there was no informed consent.
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Evaluation of arousal theory

  • The theory does not explain why people who are competent at the task still perform poorly in front of an audience
  • Does not acknowledge cognative processes as imporatant
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Sarah Bird


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