Social Psychology

Student Learning Program

Chapter 12: Interaction in groups (pp. 439471)

What's it about?

When other people watch what we do, this impacts our performance. If we are highly trained at something, or it is a really simple task, our performance will often improve. On difficult or new tasks, our performance will be more likely to suffer. This is called social facilitation, and is caused by arousal, either from people judging us, or from people who are simply distracting us. This effect has been reproduced in many settings, like the workplace and crowded environments. In busy cities, its effect seems to be reduced by cognitive and social factors, such as a sense of control.

Members of face-to-face groups share both task interdependence and social interdependence. Primary groups demand more social interdependence, while secondary groups require more task interdependence.

Group socialization consists of the stages of investigation, socialization, and maintenance, while group development usually entails Tuckman's stages of forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Tasks can be grouped into additive, disjunctive, conjunctive, and complex tasks. Groups perform better at some tasks, but worse at other tasks than individuals do. Social loafing and poor coordination are reasons for performance reduction.

Effective leadership enhances task performance and maintains social interdependence, but is dependent on the situation. Communication is essential for high productivity and morale, and is changing as a result of technology.

In this chapter

  1. Chapter 12 introduction
  2. The mere presence of others: The effects of minimal interdependence
  3. Performance in face-to-face groups: Interaction and interdependence
  4. Chapter overview (PDF)
  5. Fill-in-the-blanks
  6. Multiple-choice questions