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

by Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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    00:00 So, another phenomenon is something called Social Loafing.

    00:04 And here’s another example of you not doing something and contributing; and that’s when individuals exert less effort if they’re being evaluated as a group.

    00:13 So here again the group is helping [00:00:14,1] your individual responsibility.

    00:16 So let’s break down the term Social Loafing.

    00:20 Social refers to the fact that you’re in a social group and loafing refers to the term, of you might not refer this as “you’re a loafer”, or “you’re lazy”.

    00:27 So the degree of loafing or laziness goes up as group size increases.

    00:32 So, think of a situation where, in this diagram we have three of you sitting around a round table.

    00:37 Now, if there is three of you, and you’re talking about, let’s say, the biology section on the NCAT exam.

    00:44 And you have Tom, you have Dick, and you have Jane.

    00:48 Now, if Jane and Tom we’re having a very interactive discussion, but Dick is sitting there doing nothing, he’s really not contributing at all, he’s not part of that discussion, that’s not going to look so good.

    01:01 You’re going to need all three of those individuals involved; as supposed to if you have a group of say, 10 individuals sitting around talking about the biology section and you just tend to kind of sit back, relax, maybe keep quiet, the occasional nodding of your head but you’re really not involved in that discussion, no one’s going to really notice. Okay? So, as a group size goes up, your responsibility goes down and the degree of loafing goes up.

    01:26 So, we say that this is the opposite of social facilitation.

    01:29 So, in social facilitation as there is more people, you tend to be more involved and do a better job and here’s the opposite.

    01:36 Now, one way to sort of combat this, is incorporating both group and individual parameters.

    01:42 So, things like, as a group, I want to see how well you guys do in this biology exam or in this biology discussion.

    01:48 and I want to have 5 of your top points that come out of that discussion.

    01:52 Now, all of a sudden, you know that you’re kind of being graded and somebody is looking at your participation in a group setting and so if they noticed well, “Hey Tarry, What were your thoughts on that group discussion?” Well, actually I didn’t say anything that is not in my head.

    02:06 Now you have a sense of responsibility of saying: “Well, in the discussion, I participated and we came up the following 2 points.” Now, when you look at individual parameters, I’m saying as say for example an employer, I can say those who were the top 3 salespeople on this region are going to get incentive with a awesome coffee mug with my face on it.

    02:26 you’re going to do a better job.

    02:27 And so you’re not going to sit back, you actually want to get involved so that individually, you’re going to be identified even though you’re sitting in a group setting.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Social Loafing – 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 in a group to exert less effort than when individually accountable.
    2. The tendency for people to perform better on simple or well-learned tasks in the presence of others.
    3. The tendency for people to have less responsibility when in a group.
    4. The tendency for people to favor their individual group.
    5. The tendency for a bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present.
    1. Join a group of twenty classmates.
    2. Join a group of three classmates.
    3. Join a group of twenty classmates as she would remember other similar topics as they go along.
    4. Join a group of three classmates as that would force her to participate.
    5. She should skip the class.

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

     Tarry Ahuja, PhD

    Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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