Group Influence The Power of groups
I. What is a group? • Two or more people who interact with & influence one another. • Must be perceived as “us.”
II. Why do groups exist? • Belongingness • Provide information • Accomplish goals • Social Support
III. Collective Influence • social facilitation • social loafing • deindividuation
Are we affected by the mere presence of another person? • Yes!!! • How????
In the presence of others our performance: • Improves-- when we complete very familiar & easy tasks (simple math problems, etc.) • Declines-- when we complete very difficult & novel tasks (mazes, etc.)
A. What is Social Facilitation? • People tend to perform simple or well-learned tasks better when others are present. • Dominant responses are strengthened when others are around. • (E.g., We run faster & exercise harder when working out with others).
Social facilitation doesn’t work when: • we are engaged in new or complex tasks (learning nonsense-syllables, complex math problems). • Why does the presence of others improve some skills, while hindering others?
Answer: Arousal!! • Arousal enhances our dominant response in a situation (right or wrong). • If dominant response is correct on easy tasks--it will be facilitated when others are present. • If incorrect responses are more likely (novel task), those will occur when we’re aroused.
Zajonc & Sales (1966): • Ss had to pronounce various nonsense words (1 – 16 times). • Ss were told same words would appear 1 at a time on a screen. Ss were to guess which words appeared. • Ss actually were shown random black lines for very brief periods (no words shown). • Ss “saw” words they had pronounced most frequently. Words became “dominant” response.
Will the arousing effects of others increase if the # of people increases? • Yes!!! • High numbers of people (audience) will impair even well-rehearsed dominant responses. • (E.g., Stage fright for even veteran actors.)
Why Are We Aroused in the Presence of Others? • 1. Evaluation apprehension– how others evaluate us. 2. Mere presence of others – regardless of whether they are evaluating us or not.
B. Social Loafing: • People tend to exert less effort when in group settings in which they are working with others to achieve a common goal. • E.g., tug-o-war, shouting & clapping in audience
Ingham & coworkers: Noise study • Deceived Ss into believing others were clapping & shouting with them when they weren’t. • Six Ss sat in a semicircle, blindfolded, & wore headphones which presented them with sound of people shouting or clapping. • Ss were told to shout or clap either alone or along with the group. • When Ss believed others were also either shouting or clapping, they produced 1/3rd less noise than when they thought themselves alone.
Did Ss believe they were clapping & shouting equally as loudly when with others? • Yes!!! • Ss believed they were clapping or shouting as much when others were present as when alone. • **All subjects agree loafing occurs, but no one admits to doing the loafing.
Why does social loafing occur? • We feel less accountable for our individual performance in a group setting, then when alone. • Why??? • Diffusion of responsibility-across all group members.
Factors that reduce social loafing: • 1. Make individual performance identifiable. • 2. Make tasks challenging & engaging. • 3. Give people incentives for good performance such as rewards (e.g.,stock options).
C. Deindividuation: • the loss of self-awareness & evaluation apprehension; occurs in group settings that foster group norms (good or bad). • E.g., Riots, Lynching, police brutality
What factors cause deindividuation? 1. Group Size - Larger group sizes promote deindividuation, smaller sizes reduce it. With Large group sizes, anonymity is promoted & its easier to get lost in the crowd. E.g., Looters hidden in the riot crowd are free to steal from stores.
Do crowded cities promote deindividuation? • Yes!! Zimbardo placed two old cars with their hoods up & license plates removed in two cities. • One car --left in the Bronx, NY; the other car in Palo Alto, CA. • In NY, car stripped within 10 min. Totally bare in 3 days. In CA, someone lowered the hood during the week it was abandoned.
2. Physical anonymity promotes deindividuation. • If we can hide behind the group, we are more likely to deindividuate. • KKK wear white gowns & hoods, inner city gangs who wear similar clothes.
Deiner (1976) Halloween candy study • Examined children trick-or-treating in Seattle. • Kids were greeted at house & urged to “take one of the candies” & then left alone. • Kids alone and identified (asked their name & where they lived) took the least amount of candy. • Kids in groups took twice as much candy as those left alone.
3. Diminished self-awareness • Psychoactive drugs & alcohol reduce self-awareness. • Mirrors, cameras, small towns, & name tags all decrease deindividuation.
IV. Social Influence in Group Interaction: • Group polarization • Groupthink • Minority influence
A. Group Polarization: • The group enhances the members’ preexisting views. • E.g., terrorists, cult members
Bishop & Myers (1970): • Divided groups of prejudiced & unprejudiced high school students (Ss). • Had Ss in both groups discuss racial attitudes. Ss asked to respond before & after discussion. • Discussions appeared to increase the initial views of each group.
Does everyday group interaction with like-minded friends intensify shared attitudes? • Yes!!! Group members reinforce shared inclinations. • Like-minded people associate increasingly with one another, amplifying their shared tendencies.
B. Groupthink: • Occurs when people eager to seek a consensus in a group setting, focus on one solution to a problem & ignore alternative solutions that may be better.
Groupthink Examples: Sinking of the Titanic • Despite many iceberg warnings, Captain Smith, at the urging of others, kept sailing at full speed. • The Titanic hit an iceberg and sank April 15th, 1912 killing over • 1,500 people.
Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961) • Kennedy & advisers tried to overthrow Fidel Castro by invading Cuba with 1,400 CIA-trained Cuban exiles. • Most invaders were killed or captured, & Cuba allied itself more closely with the former U.S.S.R. • Kennedy later said, “How could we have been so stupid.”
Symptoms of Groupthink: • 1. An illusion of Invulnerability- an excessive optimism that blinds the group to possible danger or problems. • E.g., People said the Titanic was “unsinkable.”
2. Unquestioned belief in the group’s morality: • The group believes in its own inherent morality & ignores evidence to the contrary. • E.g., Al Quaeda, Hamas, Ku Klux Klan, Nazis
3. Rationalization: • Groups justify their views & decisions, & ignore alternative views they don’t agree with.
4. Stereotyped view of opponent: • Opponents to the group are considered to be immoral, stupid, & unable to defend themselves. • Kennedy administration—underestimated Castro’s power & military prowess. U.S. underestimated stealth & power of “Charlie” in Vietnam.
5. Conformity pressure: • Members who argue with the group, are pressured to conform (ostracism, threats, etc.).
6. Self-censorship: • Group members monitor what they say & do within the group (because they want to continue being liked or to avoid harm).
7. Illusion of unanimity: • People afraid or unwilling to oppose the group, confirm the group’s perception of its unanimity in its decisions & views. • Who was going to oppose President Kennedy once he & his administration made their decision.
Factors that Prevent Groupthink: • 1. Be impartial –don’t endorse any position. • 2. Encourage critical evaluation; assign a “devil’s advocate.” • 3. Frequently divide the group & renunite to air differences. • 4. Invite outside experts • 5. Have additional meetings to discuss decisions.
C. Minority Influence: • Can the minority group influence the majority group’s views? • Yes. • How???
1. Consistency: • A minority group that sticks with their position will be influential. The minority group must be consistent, any wavering or dissention will impair its efforts to sway the majority view.
2. Self-Confidence: • A strong minority that is clearly confident will be effective in raising doubts among the majority.
3. Defections from the Majority • Majority members who defect from the majority view are more persuasive than a consistent minority voice.