Unit 2- Social Facilitation

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Social Facilitation

A) Social Facilitation and Dominant responses

Social Facilitation - two types of situation has been identified in which the presesnce of others appears to produce the social facilitation affect:

1. Co-actors- two (or more) people are individually performing the same task as each other

2. Audience- individuals performing a task are observed by other people who are not performing the task.

Triplett 1898

The study was based on an observation that competing cyclists would produce better times when racing against other cyclists than competing against the clock. Compared times in three conditions, Alone, with a pacemaker and racing in a group. The results showed that the racing times in the two conditions where they were racing in the presence of other cyclists where much better than when alone. Overall they were fasted when racing against others.

Tripplett 1898

Aim- investiagate whether performance of a task was improved in the presence of other people performing the same task.

Method- p's were instructed to wind a fishing reel as quickly as possible. After a practce p's performed the task alone or in pairs, alternating between the conditions. P's were timed as they completed the task.

Results- the results confirmed Trippletts prediction that performance would be improved in the presence of another person. Based on the final trails in both conditions p's were almost 1% faster when working in pairs than when working alone.

Conclusion- that the presence of other people performing the same task affected the performance of that task. There was improvement in the presence of co-actors.

Complex or new tasks are performed better alone. Simple or well learnt tasks are performed better with an audience.

Facilitation of Dominant Responses- Zajonc 

Examination of the result of social facilitation studies revealed that:

-Performance of well learnt or simple tasks improved in the presence of others

-Performance on new or difficlut tasks was inhibited by the presence of others.

He proposed the following model:

Mere presence


Increased psychological drive to perform 

Dominant response required                                                  Non-dominant response required

        Facilitation                                                                                                Inhibition 

Performance will improve                                                               Performance will get worse

The dominant response- behaviours that are most likely to be produced by a person. According to Zajonc, these dominant responses are facilitated (more likely to occur) in the presence of other people.

Michaels Et Al 1982

aim- test the prediction that the presence of an audience would facilitate…


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