Social facilitation and inhibition

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Social facilitation and inhibition

Drive theory of Social Facilitation

Zajonc- Recognised different types of audience, which he showed in a model. He recognised that 2 types of others were interactive and the mere presence. 

  • Interactive- Co-active competitors and emotive supporters
  • Passive- possibly silent, yet interested audience, Co-actors, non threatening fellow performers eh- a jogging partner.

Zajonc believed that the mere presence of others in enough to increase arousal. He used drive theory to predict the effect of others on performance.

Zajonc suggested that the presence of others arouses performers, and this arousal enhances the production of dominant responses. Actions that have already been learnt tend to be our dominant responses. Dominant responses are the behaviors that are most likely to occur. 

High arousal would be beneficial at the autonomous stage of learning. It would also be beneficial in sports recuiring simple, ballistic, gross skills. 

However in a novice performer, the dominant response is less likely to be correct, therefore high arousal may inhibit performance.

Zajonc's theory is supported by the belief that arousal caused by an audience is innate. Martens et al confirmed Zajonc's predictions, and found that increased arousal impaired the learning of complex skills, and facilitated


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