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Group Processes—chapter 9 PowerPoint Presentation
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Group Processes—chapter 9

Group Processes—chapter 9

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Group Processes—chapter 9

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  1. Group Processes—chapter 9

  2. What is a group?

  3. Members of your fraternity/sorority Your family Members of the St. Louis Cardinals Fans watching a Cardinals game Males Social psychologists A group of people occupying the same elevator People who like watching The Sopranos People who own sexy red sports cars People who wear glasses People who wear funny-looking glasses People who notice other people’s funny-looking glasses People who are sick of my “funny glasses” example Which of these are meaningful groups?

  4. An index of “groupiness”: entitativity (Campbell, 1958) • what specific factors lead to perceptions of high entitativity? • At least three: • Similarity, interaction, common goals

  5. Members of your fraternity/sorority Your family Members of the St. Louis Cardinals Fans watching a Cardinals game Males Social psychologists A group of people occupying the same elevator People who like watching The Sopranos People who own sexy red sports cars People who wear glasses People who wear funny-looking glasses People who notice other people’s funny-looking glasses People who are sick of my “funny glasses” example Which of these are meaningful groups?

  6. Social facilitation

  7. Classic paradigms in social facilitation • Perform task in Private, versus: • “co-actor” • “audience” (you plus others watching) Public • First known study: Triplett (1898)

  8. Brief overview of social facilitation literature • Is performance improved or impaired in “public” (audience or co-actor) conditions ? • Decades of confusing results • Resolution: Zajonc (1965) • Dominant (habitual, well-learned) responses more likely in public If dominant response yields correct answer: helps performance If dominant response yields incorrect answer: hurts performance

  9. Zajonc study • Pronounce words between 1 and 16 times • Creates “dominant” response: • Words pronounced most frequently = dominant • Words flashed very quickly: 1/100 second • Participants guess word • If others are present, more likely to guess “dominant” words • Findings replicated across dozens of studies

  10. Is social facilitation peculiar to human beings? • Zajonc believed that his theory applied not just to humans, but other species as well (!) • If so, this would be one of the very few, if not the only, social psychological theories to show such generalization

  11. The cockroach study (Zajonc, Heingartner, & Herman, 1969) • Cockroaches placed in runway • Bright light shown • Run to other end of runway to escape light • Cockroach “spectators” or not • Perform faster with spectators • But only if maze is simple

  12. Social Loafing • Output of individual is diminished when working in a group • Ringelmann--rope pulling • Clapping, cheering • Why no social facilitation?

  13. SOCIAL FACILITATION Enhanced performance on simple tasks Individual efforts can be evaluated Arousal/ distraction Impaired performance on complex tasks Presence of others SOCIAL LOAFING Impaired performance on simple tasks Individual efforts cannot be evaluated Little arousal/evaluation apprehension relaxation Enhanced performance on complex tasks

  14. Jackson and Williams (1986) • Simple vs. complex mazes on computer • Another participant worked on identical task in other room • Researcher: • Each performance would be evaluated separately, or • Computer would average scores (no accountability)

  15. Time to complete maze Typically produces arousal evaluation (long) No evaluation Arousal impedes performance here Arousal facilitates performance here (fast) easy difficult Difficulty of mazes

  16. Individual differences in social loafing • Men, more than women • Individualistic societies • Suggests that key factor is interdependent view of the self

  17. Deindividuation

  18. exercise If you could be totally invisible for 24 hours and were completely assured that you would not be detected or held responsible for your actions, what would you do?

  19. Theories of Deindividuation Original view: loosening of normal constraints on behavior when people are in a crowd Leading to…“mob behavior” Robert Watson (1973) study

  20. Newer view of Deindividuation • Two factors • Lower accountability • Increases obedience to “local” norms

  21. Groups: Decision Making

  22. Initial issues • Most major decisions in the world are made by groups • United Nations, Courts (e.g. U.S. Supreme Court) • Elected bodies (e.g. Parliament, Congress) • Presidents rarely make decisions completely alone • WHY? • Are groups always better than single individuals? • Huge scientific literature on exactly this question!

  23. Process loss • General term covering many group processes • Hamper extent to which groups can solve problems efficiently, effectively • “Social” losses • Conversation/interactions irrelevant to task • Distractions • Failure to share unique information • Stasser & Titus (1985)

  24. Groupthink • Probably most famous process loss • Definition: people begin to value group cohesiveness and solidarity more than the need to consider the facts in a realistic manner. • Can lead to disastrous decisions • JFK’s decision to invade Cuba • Challenger disaster (1986) • Possibly, Columbia accident (2003)

  25. The road to groupthink Symptoms • Illusion of invulnerability • Moral certainty • Stereotyped view of outgroup • Self-censorship • Direct pressure to conform • Illusion of unanimity • Mindguards Antecedents • Group is (already) cohesive • Isolated • Directive leader • Stress • Poor decision-making rules Defective decision making • Incomplete survey of alternatives • Failure to examine risks of favored alternative • Poor information search • Few contingency plans

  26. Specific steps to avoid groupthink • Leader—remain impartial (if possible) • Seek outside opinions • Create subgroups • Seek anonymous opinions

  27. Group polarization • Original finding (Stone, 1962) seemed to suggest “risky shift” (!!) • Newer view: group polarization, not riskiness per se • Whatever way the group is leaning initially, members tend to polarize further in that direction

  28. Who (and what) makes a great leader? • The “holy grail” of social psychology! • Two general views • 1. The “great person” theory • Leadership and personality • Fascinating study by Dean Simonton on U.S. presidents • General picture—no such thing as “leadership personality” • 2. “Right person in right situation” view • Contingency theory of leadership • Received good support • Gender and leadership

  29. Social dilemmas What’s best for the individual is not always best for the group, and vice-versa.

  30. Examples of social dilemmas • Common goods dilemma • Tragedy of the Commons” (Hardin, 1968) • Contribution to public television/radio • The Matzo ball soup dilemma • Stephen King’s on-line novel--The Plant King issued the installments under an honor-system payment model, asking readers to pay for $l for each chapter downloaded and promising to keep writing only if at least 75% of the readers complied. "If you pay, the story rolls. If you don't, the story folds," he wrote on his Web site. But King staffers said that only 46% of the downloads of the first few chapter were paid for, and the experiment was suspended.

  31. Why social dilemmas are common • Dilemmas could be avoided if people put their total trust in others and if they weren’t so selfish • Yeah, right…. • Not to say that social dilemmas are inevitable • But they are hard to resist