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Alternative Theories for Social Facilitation

Alternative Theories for Social Facilitation

There have been other theories contributed towards the idea of social facilitation. This is been proposed by Baron (1986):

  • Baron (1986) contributed the distraction-conflict model

Baron suggested with this model that the physical presence of other people is distracting. EG – noises or gestures by the audience can be interpreted as the approval or disapproval of the performace.

As a result, this leads to response conflict – the conflict between attending to the task in hand and attending to the audience. This then in turn leads to an overall negative effect on the task performance, regardless of the task complexity.

On the other hand, response conflict also increases arousal and motivation to do the task better also hoping to overcome the distraction.

On the oher hand, it has also been suggested that social facilitation effects are due to increased competitiveness.

Cotterel (1968)

Cotterel’s contribution to the social facilitation theory included a cognitive element.

He believed that we are aroused in the presence of others becuase we have learned to associate their presence with evaluation of our performance during a task. Since this evaluation from the audience can be negative and positive, an evaluation apprehension is created (the concern that others will judge us).

Evidence: ‘Turkish Word’ Study – but with the audience blindfolded so they couldn’t judge the participant’s performance. As a result the effect of the presence of other people disappeared.


The Self-presentation Theory
(Bond – 1982)

Consists of explaining the effects of an audience in terms of how we present ourselves to other people. In a nutshell, this theory relates audience effects to a desire to make a good impression on others.

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