Social Facilitation – How the Presence of Others Affects Individual Behavior (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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    00:00 Alright, let's talk about how the presence of others can actually affect your individual behavior.

    00:06 We all know that when you're by yourself you act a certain way; but when you're with others, you change the way you act.

    00:13 Why is that' And what are some of the factors that drive that? So the phenomena of changing the way you act, in a way that actually helps you, something called Social Facilitation.

    00:24 This is the tendency of your pupil to perform differently in the presence of others versus being alone.

    00:29 I have here as an example a basketball or any type of a sporting event, where an individual rises to the occasion because they're in an arena where everybody's chanting their name.

    00:39 In something as simple as to put on perspective for you is perhaps say just performing or giving a speech or writing in an exam even.

    00:49 Being in a room filled with others, just the mere presence of them being there will actually change how you perform.

    00:56 So, the mere presence of people are simply present, just there around you, doing similar activities or minding their own business would change the way you act and what you do.

    01:04 Think of the example of going to a grocery store.

    01:07 There's people on the isles, people around you, they're not even interacting with you, but just having them there would change the way you act.

    01:17 Now, we know that if you have others around you, you tend to perform better on simple, well-rehearsed tasks.

    01:24 So, if you're doing something very, very simple, let's go back to our sporting analogy, an individual who sits there hour after hour shooting free throws, for basketball, or in tennis, it's practicing their serve over and over.

    01:39 The reason they do that over and over is to make that a well-rehearsed, regulated, simple task.

    01:44 So, for you and me shooting a free throw might be a little more difficult or to serve a ball in tennis might be a little more difficult coz we don't play 8 hours a day and if we think about it, it's really really a difficult task but what you want to happen is that you practice so much that it becomes automatic.

    02:02 Now, once you've done that, if you're in a situation where you're around others, that will be defined as a well-rehearsed or simple task and you're going to do better because of all the individuals around you.

    02:13 If you are having to think about a task and it's a more complicated task, having these other people around you will not actually benefit you.

    02:22 Now, like what I just mentioned right here, so social facilitation is diminished if you are doing a more complicated or a brand new task.

    02:32 So think for example in this image here we have an air traffic controller. That's pretty complex.

    02:37 So having others around you in a room isn't necessarily going to benefit you, it's not going to facilitate, your behavior or help you perform.

    02:44 Now we also know that when you're around other people, one other way is that you're seeing this benefit is this increased level of arousal. And what that's doing is actually allowing you to, activate and find through your dominant responses.

    02:59 So these again are things that are much more automatic.

    03:03 So other factors like fear, distraction, or over evaluation can impact your performance.

    03:08 So if you're up there speaking and the whole time you could think while you're talking or you're thinking about it before you go up or you're really afraid, things that were normally automatic for you that you're quite, quite, good at doing might get impacted because of others around you so that's opposite of facilitation.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Social Facilitation – How the Presence of Others Affects Individual Behavior (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, PhD is from the course Social Processes That Influence Human Behavior.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. The tendency for people to perform differently in the presence of others versus alone.
    2. The tendency for people to perform better when surrounded by others doing similar tasks.
    3. Mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time.
    4. A state of alertness with mental and physical activation.
    5. A facility that serves a group of people.
    1. Social facilitation
    2. Audience effect
    3. Deindividualization
    4. Social loafing
    5. Coaction

    Author of lecture Social Facilitation – How the Presence of Others Affects Individual Behavior (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, PhD

    Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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