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Social Influences on Behavior Paper - Essay Example

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Humans are social beings who live in a society and spend the whole of their lives among other human beings. Human beings interact with each other as well as influence each other in a group. Every individual is a product of his/her relationships and the group, culture and society to which he/she belongs…
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Social Influences on Behavior Paper
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Download file to see previous pages According to Zajonc, people perform better on dominant tasks, i.e., simple, familiar or well learned tasks, when others are around than when others are not around (as cited in D. D. Henningsen, M. L. M. Henningsen & Braz, 2007). On the contrary, on non-dominant tasks, i.e., complex, unfamiliar or novel tasks, the presence of others causes social interference or inhibition, thus impairing the performance. An instance where social facilitation can be seen in effect is in the sports scenario. The differences in performance levels of teams on the home ground and away can be explained by the concept of social facilitation. David Dryden Henningsen, Mary Lynn Henningsen and Mary Braz, through their study on a college basketball team, have very effectively supported this view. For their experiment, data was gathered for "78 NCAA division I men's teams from the 2000-2001 college basketball season" (D. D. Henningsen, M. L. M. Henningsen & Braz, 2007). Statistics were collected for each game teams played over the season where a home team could be clearly designated. Home and away totals were recorded for shots attempted and made with regard to free throws, field goals and three point shots. The results showed that teams performed better for shooting tasks at home than on the road. Significant home performance advantage was noted for the easier task of field goal shooting while this was not noted for the more difficult three point shooting. This is very much consistent with social facilitation. Interestingly, home performance advantage was not observed for the easiest task which was free throw shooting. The authors conclude that it is possible that free throw shooting is a dominant task and that "anytime a college basketball player shoots a free throw before a crowd, social facilitation occurs and that the benefits of being at home or being a better shooting team are bounded by a ceiling effect" (D. D. Henningsen, M. L. M. Henningsen & Braz, 2007). According to Silva and Andrew (as cited in D. D. Henningsen, M. L. M. Henningsen & Braz, 2007), the home advantage is "created more by impaired performance by visiting teams than by improved performance by home teams." According to them, free throw shooting levels were overall the same for home and visiting teams while home performance advantage was not seen for field goal shooting. This, according to them, was because free throw shooting is a simpler task than field goal shooting, so social inhibition occurs for field goals and not for free throws when teams are on the road.
While Robert Zajonc put forward the drive theory, where he used the term, "dominant response," Cortrell's theory of social facilitation, which uses the term "evaluation apprehension," states that "rather than the mere presence of others, it is the worry of being adjudged that affects performance" (as cited in "Social Faciliation," 2006). Another major theory of social facilitation as put forward by Saunders et al. (as cited in "Social Faciliation," 2006), uses the term "distraction conflict," according to which participants in high distraction condition performed better on simple tasks but worse on complex ones.
From the above theories, it is clear that social facilitati ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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