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Groups. Video Clip 2: Reginald Denny. Outline. Why we live in groups Social facilitation Social loafing Group decision making. Best reliable predictor of brain size in primates is social group size Human beings are adapted to live in social groups All primates except ourangutans.

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Video Clip 2: Reginald Denny


  • Why we live in groups

  • Social facilitation

  • Social loafing

  • Group decision making

Benefits of group living
Benefits of group living group size

  • Protection from predation and from intergroup conflict

  • Collective hunting of big game & coordinated food gathering

  • Cultural learning

Social exclusion is painful eisenberger lieberman williams 2003
Social exclusion is painful group sizeEisenberger, Lieberman, & Williams (2003)

  • Virtual ball-tossing game

  • Inclusion vs. exclusion rounds

  • fMRI scan

  • dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC)

Social exclusion is painful eisenberger lieberman williams 20031
Social exclusion is painful group sizeEisenberger, Lieberman, & Williams (2003)

  • Greater activation of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) when excluded

  • Excluded subjects who reported being more upset showed greater activation of dACC

  • Human sensitivity to social exclusion

  • Physical pain = social pain

The nature and purpose of group living
The Nature and Purpose of Group Living group size

Group - A collection of individuals that have relations to one another that make them interdependent to some significant degree

Groups vary in the degree of cohesion and interdependence

Social facilitation
Social Facilitation group size

The effect of the presence of others on performance

  • Does the presence of others increase or decrease performance?

  • Resolving the Contradiction: Zajonc’s theory

Social facilitation1
Social Facilitation group size

Facilitation: dominant response

  • Task is easy

  • Person is expert

    Inhibition: non-dominant response

  • Task is hard/complex

  • Person is novice

Social loafing
Social Loafing group size

  • Social loafing: decreased effort put forth by individuals when working in a group

  • Finding: burglars working in groups more likely to get caught!

  • Ingham (1974): blindfolded ppts pulled 18% harder when they thought were alone

  • Explanation: diffusion of responsibility

Social loafing1
Social Loafing group size

Less social loafing:

  • Task is challenging and involving

  • Individuals are identifiable

  • Members are friends

  • Groups are cohesive

  • In collectivistic cultures and among women

Group decision making
Group Decision Making group size

  • Important decisions are made in groups…

    • Governments

    • Juries

    • Committees

    • Company executive boards

  • How do groups affect decision making?

Group decision making1
Group Decision Making group size

  • Are many heads better than one?

  • Disastrous decisions by groups

  • Ex: Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs invasion

  • Modern example: Iraq invasion

  • Groupthink: social pressures to reach consensus in a highly cohesive group which leads to disastrous decisions

Group decision making2
Group Decision Making group size

  • Conditions that foster groupthink:

    • Stressful situation

    • Like minded members of group

    • Isolation from outside influences

    • Lack of procedures

    • Strong group leader

Group decision making3
Group Decision Making group size

  • Symptoms of groupthink

    • Illusion of invulnerability

    • Dissent is discouraged, esp. by “mindguards”

    • Self-sensorship, illusion of unanimity

    • One-sided debate (collective rationalization)

    • Unwillingness to consider alternatives

Group decision making4
Group Decision Making group size

  • Strategies to reduce groupthink

    • Encourage criticism

    • Input from outside sources

    • Generate different ideas, approaches before decisions is made

    • Watch out for illusion of invulnerability