Group Influence

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Information about Group Influence

Published on February 13, 2008

Author: Dante


Group Influence:  Group Influence What is a group? How does being in a group change us? What is a group?:  What is a group? Numerous definitions of the term. A number of individuals who are interacting with each other. Several individuals who are interdependent in some way. A number of individuals who join together to achieve a goal. A social unit consisting of two or more people who perceive themselves as belonging to a group. A collection of individuals whose interactions are structured by a set of roles and norms. Different Forums of Group Influence:  Different Forums of Group Influence Collective influence in minimal group situations: Social facilitation Social Loafing Deindividuation Group influence in interacting groups Group polarization Groupthink Minority Influence Social Facilitation:  Social Facilitation The strengthening of dominant responses in the presence of others. Why? Evaluation Apprehension: enhancement is strongest when people think they are being evaluated. Mere presence: occurs in other species, may be a built-in biological mechanism. Social Loafing:  Social Loafing Tendency to reduce effort when pooling effort toward a common goal and when they are not individually accountable. Tug of war, clapping studies. In essence, social loafing appears to occur due to a reduction in evaluation apprehension. Increases when not individually evaluated or rewarded. Decreases when tasks are challenging or appealing, and when fellow group members are friends (as opposed to strangers). Deindividuation:  Deindividuation Loss of self-awareness and evaluation apprehension. Factors Physical anonymity (Zimbardo study with masked women delivering shocks, drivers in convertibles are less likely to honk, anthropological research that suggests that cultures with depersonalized warriors also were the cultures more likely to brutalize enemies). Deindividuation:  Deindividuation However, deindividuation does not automatically lead to negative behavior. Makes one more responsive to cues in the environment, thus altruistic cues lead a deindividuated person to be kinder. Why? Diminished self-awareness: those made self-aware exhibit more self-control and their actions are more consistent with their attitudes. Group Polarization:  Group Polarization Originally dubbed the “risky shift” The risky shift involved the tendency for group decisions to be riskier than the average decision of the individuals in the group. However, subsequent research showed that groups may get more cautious Group polarization is the tendency for group decisions to be more extreme than that of individuals. Amplifies pre-existing tendencies. Same logic as social facilitation. Group Polarization:  Group Polarization Why? Group discussion leads you to hear more information. Active participation in a discussion leads you to “rehearse” your thoughts leading to more attitude change. Safer to provide more extreme answers once the normative opinion of the group has been determined. Minority Influence and Leadership:  Minority Influence and Leadership What makes someone a good leader? Theories Trait Theory/Great Leader: Charisma, intelligence? Social Determinism. Fiedler’s Contingency Theory: person vs. task oriented leaders.

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