The process of improvement in performance of an individual, while working with other individuals is termed as social facilitation. The process of comparison works based on an individual performing at an optimal level in presence of other individuals, like working in a group where they perform better because of well-rehearsed and easier work and deterioration of performance on tough and newer tasks. Social facilitation works in the presence of not only other people, but also working together as a group. Researchers found out that performance of an individual increases by cooperation, doing a work in presence of other people who are working on a similar work and performing a task better if there are less people around. The best example of coaction can be found where social facilitation triggers the performance of an individual is when cyclists performance improve with a group of other cyclists, when it is compared with that same individual cycling alone. Weightlifters are seen to lift much more weight, while in the presence of an audience.
Social facilitation when applied in accordance with the Yerkes-Dodson law, which states that the presence of other individuals will improve the performing capacity, both in capacity, accuracy and speed of tasks that are well rehearsed and degradation will occur with tasks that are unknown to the individual.
The presence of an audience while a task is being performed is a psychological impact when people tend to work better when people are present to look at them while the task is being performed. This concept was further studied, which explained that in the passive presence of an audience improves performance for simpler tasks, whereas other studies explained that the presence of an audience inhibits the performance of task, which is tougher and not well rehearsed, which is possibly due to the psychological effect of stress and pressure.
The tendency of individuals to perform in a different way, just in the presence of other people. There are three basic empirical relationship, which are attention, activation and evaluation theories. The psychological arousal and the subsequent effect on functioning of an individual is described through the activation theory. The structure of systematic measurement of merit or worth of some object is related through evaluation theory. The possession of the mind, which includes attention and focalization of the consciousness of human mind, is studied in the attention theory.
Triplett in 1897 studied the cause, effect and presence of an audience using a simple procedure. This was the cyclist experiment, where it was seen that an individual is outperforming himself in the mere presence of an audience or simply by racing with other people riding cycles with the cyclist and was quite slower in performing while racing against a clock, and not other cyclists. These attributes were a result of a competitive instinct, which stated that there is an outburst of energy, which was inhibited when cycling alone. His studies changed the entire concept and various other attempts were further made to understand social facilitation. There was a study conducted in 1898 to understand the competitive nature amongst kids, where he found out that the children complete their work comparatively faster if they are competing with other children. To conform his theory Triplett started to work on his study of cycling time of individuals alone and in a group where a conclusion was made that people tend to work much better and faster in the presence of other individuals.
The term social facilitation, was coined by Floyd Allport in 1924 after he conducted various studies where participants were either alone or with other people performing various types of task, which included associating words, assessment on multiplication where he found out that most of the tasks were performed better by individuals when working in a group rather than performing alone. Although, during that point in time, social facilitation meant increased response of an individual from seeing or hearing others while a task is being performed and moving accordingly in a group.
There are ample reasons based on which it can be derived that the working principles of social facilitation and the implication of it in performance of an individual is required for understanding the human psychology and behavior, both in situations that are social as well as non-social. Due to unchanged factors in a situation, excluding the fact that another individual is present, social facilitation helps in understanding the basic reaction by humans when another individual is present. The individual is experimented separately performing an activity, and that same activity is performed in the presence of another person who is not competing or helping the person under consideration.
Social facilitation provides an alternative approach to understand implications of motivation, which is basically defined as an individual’s performance based on the abilities individuals possess. Understanding social facilitation theory relates to understanding both the positive and negative effects of another individuals presence in performance of an individual. The perception of evaluation plays an important role in the performance of an individual, on how well they perform. The importance of social psychology and subsequent perception of social facilitation associated with social loafing and inhibition. There are various factors like the type of crowd present, whether the crowd displays positivity or negativity including the total number of individuals gathered and the effect of audience response indulged in a particular task, which is being performed. Range of tasks including examinations in colleges or performance in a sports event with a large audience depend on the complexity and nature of the task being performed by an individual. Thus, it is derogatory to understand the implications of social facilitation for different types of environment and the subsequent cause and effect it has on human mind while performing a task in presence of an audience. Social facilitation has widespread usage in businesses where advantageous situations start increasing in online sales, limited products and individuals start buying products and consequently it is utilized by businesses. There are better rates of auctioning where there is more virtual presence of an audience, which is deep rooted in the concepts of social facilitation.
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