"I Can Do Better When You Are Watching Me" - Social Facilitation

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Is people's behavior best explained by the environment and situation they find themselves in, or by their personality, which guides behavior no matter what the situation is? We knew from the famous Situation vs. Personality Debate that both personality and environment can influence a person, but in Social Psychology, one of the dominant themes is that situations affect our behavior. Human are social creatures and our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the presence of others
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A person's behavioral pattern may changes depends on whether one is appreciated by others or not. We call it social facilitation, which is the tendency for people to do better on tasks when in the presence of other people. We might notice in our daily lives that whenever people are being watched by others, they will do well or even better than usual on things that they are already good at doing.


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One of a good example about social facilitation in my daily lives was my experience in the gym yesterday. I was lifting weights alone first. Then a friend came over to talk. I was just getting ready to do bench presses at the time. With him watching, I focused more on what I was doing and was able to lift substantially more than I had before. When my friend was watching me did this simple task, I wanted to impress him so I lift more than usual. My behavior changed due to that situation and also exemplified social facilitation.

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landscape in Grapevine from landscape in Grapevine on March 28, 2013 6:29 PM

"I Can Do Better When You Are Watching Me" - Social Facilitation - Sections 24 and 25 SP12 PSY 1001 Read More

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Your blog has some great information about how our personal performance is increased by those around us. However there also seems to be room for when we know other people are around us, where problems can arise. I think the best example of this was in the book with the Kitty Genovese case. Through this psychologists really emphasized the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility, which causes groups to act in ways that don't "increase performance."

I really like that you related the concept of social facilitation to your own personal experiences at the gym. When this topic was covered in lecture on Friday, it seemed like another factor that contributed to it was how "good" or "bad" someone was at performing a task. Those who tended to do better on their own, did better with people watching them while those who performed badly, did worse with people watching them. To be sure, studying the effects others have on our behavior is really interesting!

Your blog provides good information on personal performance. I agree that situation affects how people react, regardless of their personality, but I feel people will react in many different ways. Most people will want to impress people when they are being watched but others may feel intimidated and shut down.

This is an interesting blog topic. I like that when you were referred to your personal experience, you didn't attribute the increase in weight to him just being there, but rather that you focused on what you were doing more. Is this increase in focus the root of performance? What other elements of him being there change?

How does the social facilitation relate to the situation and personality debate? Is social facilitation about a change in personality or just an improvement in performance? Are there times when performance declines? Links to further reading would be useful.

I have noticed this belief being practiced a lot. One thing i realized is that it is mainly men who fit this persona. I don't know if it is because they are trying to impress people all of the time, or it's just a natural process. Good information!

Good article, I liked the use of example from real life. I would say that how the presence of others affects you depends on the type of task you are doing. As we learned in class, we do better on simple or routine tasks (like your bench pressing) but worse on complicated tasks.

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This page contains a single entry by tangx307 published on April 23, 2012 12:22 AM.

Freud: the Man, the Myth, the Thought Provoker was the previous entry in this blog.

Taking Action: What I learned from PSY 1001 is the next entry in this blog.

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