Individual Performances Inhibit or Distract Essay

Individual Performances Inhibit or Distract Essay

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Why does the presence of others improve individual performance in some situations but inhibit it in others? Discuss in relation to theories of social facilitation


Performance in front of other people important in nowadays world.
Lot of competition. Was ist social faciliation.

To be able to understand why the presence of others improves or inhibits individual performances one has to know what the theory of social facilitation is. Basically, it is the tendency for people who are being watched or observed to perform better than they normally would alone on simple tasks. This includes tasks they are able to do very well in general or are repeated. Studies on social facilitation regard the extent to which a given piece of an individual's behaviour is affected by the real, imagined or implied presence of others. In general, the social facilitation theory states that people tend to do better at well-learned tasks, if an audience is present and worse as difficult tasks.
Zajonc developed a theory called drive theory. In this theory he explains that the presence of an audience or other people in general will set the performer in a state of arousal. This state of arousal will make them alert and ready. This arousal is supposed to work on the performers most likely response. On the one hand, if the performer is good at the given task it will make them even better, which will lead to social facilitation. On the other hand, if the performer knows that he/she is poor at a task, it will automatically worsen the performance and therefore lead to social inhabitation.
Furthermore, Zajonc deducted research in which he detected that there are several other factors which influence peoples performances. Such as, the gender of the audience, the audi...


... middle of paper ...


...al facilitation or, as in the last case, inhibition purely depends on the nature of the set task. Namely, the interaction between the performer and the task.
However, generally speaking, in the mentioned research the presence of an audience or ,competitors‘ was able to improve performance or impaired the performance. This can be explained by the task set. If the task was repetitive and the participants knew what they were doing and therefore, knew that they will succeed at the task performance increased. Whereas more difficult tasks and therefore tasks with participants who did not know how well they are going to perform enhanced the participants nervousness and put pressure on them, hence the performance was inhibited. The social facilitation theory also states that if the task is not simple, then there will be a larger margin of error because of nervousness.






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