Groups and Relationships

Even if we consider ourselves to be introverted, we are always around other people. And the presence of other people can have both positive and negative effects on our own behavior – whether we realize it or not:

· Social facilitation – when the presence of others leads to an increase in your performance

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· Examples include runners who run faster when surrounded by other runners (as compared to solo training); people who type faster if there are other people around typing, etc

· Social loafing – when people put less than their best effort forward when their individual contribution is hard to figure out

· Example include: that person on your group project that does nothing

· Diffusion of Responsibility – related to social loafing, if responsibilities are diluted across all group members, no one does anything

· Example: Hey, if you’re not doing anything, neither will I!

· Bystander effect – related to diffusion of responsibility, people will often do nothing in a group environment because they think someone else will.

· Perhaps the most well-known example is the tragic case of Kitty Genovese , a woman who was assaulted and killed in the middle of the night in the parking lot of her apartment building by a man while people looked on and did nothing. Yes, it was late and dark and the people were not in the parking lot, but rather in their apartments looking down at poor Kitty. Afterwards people said they didn’t do anything when they heard screaming because they assumed someone else would call the police or help her. No one did.


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