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Textbook Site for:
Social Psychology , Sixth Edition
Sharon S. Brehm - Indiana University
Saul Kassin - Williams College
Steven Fein - Williams College
Chapter Outlines - Group Processes

I. Collective Processes: The Presence of Others
A. Social Facilitation: When Others Arouse Us: Dominant responses are enhanced and subordinate responses are impaired by the presence of others, so performance improves on easy tasks and is impaired on hard tasks
1. The Zajonc solution: social facilitation occurs due to the mere presence of others that causes the arousal that creates the performance effects
2. Evaluation apprehension: social facilitation occurs because people are evaluating the performer
3. Distraction: the distraction-conflict theory argues that other people are arousing because they are a distraction, and the distraction-based arousal accounts for social faciliation phenomena
B. Social Loafing: When Others Relax Us
1. On pooled tasks people tend to produce less in the presence of others; this is called social loafing (Latane & colleagues, 1979)
2. When one’s input is made identifiable, social loafing does not occur
C. Facilitation and Loafing: Unifying the Paradigms
1. When the presence of others increases the possibility of evaluation
a) performance on easy tasks should be enhanced
b) performance on difficult tasks should be impaired
2. When the presence of others decreases the possibility of evaluation
a) performance on easy tasks should be impaired
b) performance on difficult tasks should be enhanced
D. Deindividuation: When People Lose Control
1. Environmental cues
a) accountability cues
b) attentional cues
2. Moving from personal to social identity
II. Group Processes: Interacting with Others
A. Joining a Group
1. Why join a group?
a) increases evolutionary survival
b) to accomplish things one cannot do alone
c) to gain social status and identity
d) they like the members and want to interact with them
2. Group development
a) forming: members try to orient themselves to the group
b) storming: members try to influence the group so that it best fits their own needs.
c) norming: members try to reconcile the conflicts that emerged during storming and develop a common sense of purpose and perspective
d) performing: members try to perform their tasks and maximize the group’s performance
e) adjourning: members disengage from the group, distancing themselves from other members and reducing their activities within the group
f) groups do not always pass through these stages, many do not
B. Roles, Norms, and Cohesiveness
1. Roles: sets of expected behaviors
2. Norms: rules of conduct for members
3. Cohesiveness: forces exerted on a group that push its members together
C. Group Polarization: Gaining Conviction: Strengthened attitudes through group discussion
1. Persuasive arguments theory: in a group people hear more arguments that make attitudes more extreme
2. Social comparison: in a group people compare themselves to others and create more extreme norms for the group
3. Social categorization: attitudes change as an exaggeration of the group's views to distinguish the group from other groups
D. Groupthink: Losing Perspective
1. Behavioral symptoms
a) overestimation of the group
b) closed-mindedness
c) increased pressures toward uniformity
2. Research on groupthink
a) only mixed support for the model
b) groupthink is most likely to occur when the following conditions occur simultaneously: high cohesiveness, a strong controlling leader, and heightened stress
3. Preventing groupthink
a) groups should consult widely with outsiders
b) leaders should explicitly encourage criticism
c) subgroups should separately discuss the same issue
d) groups should engage in counterfactual thinking
E. Group Performance: Are More Heads Better Than One?
1. Types of tasks
a) additive task: product is the sum of all the members’ contributions
b) conjunctive task: product is determined by the “weakest link”
c) disjunctive task: product is determined by the individual-best performance
2. Process loss: group processes interfere with the generation of ideas
3. Process gain: group outperforms individuals on tasks in which correct answer becomes evident upon presentation and in which the work can be subdivided among members
4. Setting goals
5. Brainstorming: coming up with ideas
a) brainstorming is generally ineffective
b) electronic brainstorming may be more effective
6. Biased sampling and communication: Getting ideas on the table
a) groups fail to consider important information
b) group norms can promote either consensus or critical thinking
c) communication networks can hinder the flow of information
7. Escalation effects: commitment to a failing course of action is increased to justify investments
8. Information processing
a) groups are susceptible to the same information-processing biases as are individuals
b) mixed findings on the memory of groups as compared with that of the same number of individuals
9. Computer technology and group support systems
10. Diversity: diverse and integrated groups are more productive than homogenous groups
III. Cooperation, Competition, and Conflict: Responding to Differences
A. Mixed Motives and Social Dilemmas
1. The prisoner’s dilemma
a) tit-for-tat strategy – respond as your partner does
b) win-stay, lose-shift strategy – stay with strategy if payoff is high, shift if payoff is low
2. Resource dilemmas
a) commons dilemma – if people take as much as they want of a limited resource that does not replenish itself, nothing will be left for anyone
b) public goods dilemma – if people do not contribute to a common pool of resources there will be nothing for anyone
3. Solving social dilemmas
a) individual and cultural differences – having a prosocial, cooperative orientation, trusting others, being a member of a collectivistic culture
b) situational factors – being in a good mood, having successful experiences, seeing unselfish models, expecting others to cooperate
c) group dynamics – acting as an individual, being in a small group, having superordinate goals
d) structural arrangements – payoff structure, privatization, establishing an authority to control the resources
B. Conflict Escalation
1. Threat capacity: the ability to punish others often leads to escalation of conflict
2. Perceptions of others: we often exaggerate the bad qualities of our enemies and they do likewise
a) mirror image: what we see in our enemies is what our enemies see in us
b) dehumanization: we often dehumanize outgroups, which justifies the escalation of conflict
C. Reducing Conflict
1. True grit: a strategy for unilateral reduction in conflict
a) issue a statement of intention to reduce conflict
b) carry out your tension-reducing initiative as announced
c) once the other party cooperates, quickly reciprocate
d) maintain a retaliatory capability
2. Negotiating
a) flexible, complex information processing usually is required for success
b) integrative agreements - negotiated resolution where all parties come out ahead
c) trained negotiators and computerized support systems improve negotiations
3. Finding common ground
a) superordinate identity: a larger group of which all other groups are a part
b) superordinate goals: goals that all parties share


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