Archive for category Blog Entry 7
Groupthink is a phenomenon which occurs in groups, where the overwhelming influence of others decision in a group changes the decisions of others in a group. This often leads to groups agreeing on something unanimously, though individuals in the group may have different opinions. Because of the social influence a group can have upon an individual, their beliefs are often set aside and replaced with those beliefs which are valued by the group.
In the movie/play 12 Angry Men, 12 men must decide on the fate of a boy who has been accused of murder. At the first vote, many of the men vote guilty, and when the others in the group see that the majority are voting guilty, they also join, as they are susceptible to groupthink. The vote is almost unanimous, and only one man votes innocent.
Throughout the movie, this one man must try to reverse the group think by using many of the solutions proposed in the book. They call for many revotes, he plays the devils advocate and proposes counter arguments, and many varying opinions are considered. Though it is very difficult to reverse the ‘groupthink’ decision, he is eventually successful.
Remember that one time when you walked into our class and saw a girl in the front row hooked up to a machine that beeped a lot? Me too. It was taking my blood pressure. Little did I know that I had volunteered to prove that evaluation apprehension exists. This means that when I am aware of other people around me and I am concerned about my performance in front of them, my performance will change… and my physiological state.
So I start by answering math questions on a piece of paper. Piece of cake? I thought so. Little did I realize that I would find out the my blood pressure and heart rate were about to shoot through the roof. Then I started answering harder math questions, and I became increasingly aware of our class sitting behind me. Could they see the mistakes I was making? Were they making fun of me for how slowly I was subtracting by 14? Ohhh man am I sweating? Can they tell?
It only got worse from here. I had to sit on front of the class and answer the math questions. Seriously? I can’t even remember the last time I did simple subtraction. Subtracting by 27?! Freaking impossible.
The results? Because I was in front of the class… my performance on simple math actually got better. My physiological state? Blood pressure and heart rate skyrocketed. Subtracting by 27… well, I did significantly worse. I was so darn worried about other people in the class doing it in their heads faster than me, or how I looked, or how people were gonna think I was an idiot, that I completely started to suck at math.
You all witnessed that evaluation apprehension is an extremely real thing. At least you learned the easy way.
A free rider is someone who benefits from a group without actually contributing anything in return. Typically, when thinking about what a free rider is, I think of that one person who is part of a group project, that never does anything. This picture demonstrates what I usually think of:
However, I do have a story that pertains to me. In one of my Political Science classes, we were assigned to prepare a briefing (both a paper and presentation) about atomic bombs. Supposedly there were four members of the group, but only three of us ever met, and we never saw the fourth member in class. On the day we were supposed to present, magically our fourth member arrived and assumed he could be part of our presentation even though we had done all of the work without him. Because we were a more generous group, we gave him a small part to present.
This story is an example of free-riding (or at least an attempt of such) because our fourth group member benefitted from the work that we did (since we wrote the paper and gave the presentation) without helping us in return.
Social Facilitation: the idea that we tend to perform better when other people are watching us.
At all of my swim meets- when my friends were there watching me I performed better.
All through high school I swam on the swim team. As I reviewed my scores from the season- I realized that the meets where my friends were present- I performed better. This is an example of social facilitation because I used the presence of my friends as motivation for me to push myself harder and thus my performance was better than when my friends were not at my meet.
In class, we discussed the potential of deindividuation, or the tendency for people to lose their sense of self within a group, I immediately focused on the bad examples I could think of: rioting, mass crime, social chaos, and more – you get the idea. While these instances (read:crimes) can all negatively affect humanity, I consider deindividuation that directly affects individuals as more directly harmful. As we discussed in class, computers, the internet, and technology have made deindividuation a bit easier, as people can now hide behind screen names or at least distance themselves greater than that experienced face-to-face.
Check out the first two minutes of the video below to see an example of the negative deindividuation society battles today:
In the video, a girl is first criticized by her “friend” for having a crush on a certain boy. Then, the “friend” makes a facebook status about the girl and her crush, humiliating the girl (which she wouldn’t have done in person) and then the real deindividuation begins as other people start chiming in on the crush, posting rude and hateful comments that they surely would never say to the main girl’s face, and definitely wouldn’t have said without being provoked by the poster, who can be recognized as the group leader. Because of the distance and relative anonymity of the group’s members as compared to a normal setting, this deindividuation is in full bloom.
Social Leadership: is having the ability to support, coach, and motivate others. Social leadership can take on many forms such as having the ability to unite a team, lead by example, and help mediate conflicts when they arise. It’s caring about others needs before your own and looking for the common interest of a group to help lead to success.
An example I found of this was on Remember The Titans where Gary and Julius both show leadership to unite the team.
We all have someone that we know who has been an example of social leadership whether that was a captain on an athletics team, a leader in the church, or even some of our close friends and family members. One of my cheer squad captains was a great example of this type of leadership. She was motivating, supportive, and looked out for the teams best interest. She would place others needs before her own and provide the safety necessary for those who would be stunting. Being a social leader is making sure that everyone’s voice in the group can be heard and they want the well being of their teammates. In conclusion, social leadership can build morale, strengthen us as individuals, and bring people together.
When in groups, people do not always try as hard as they can. In fact, sometimes team efforts can even lead individuals to put forth less effort than they normally would. The concept of social loafing describes this as when individuals are involved in additive tasks, they may perform more poorly than they would alone. And a more specific example of social loafing is called free riding, where individuals in groups get benefits without putting in much effort.
Everyone in school, work, or any part of real life has experienced this. A team member who does none of the work yet wishes to get full credit. There are too many examples in my own life for me even to count. But my favorite example happened to someone else. This boy and his group has a semester long project that required meeting at least once a week to put together a finished product of a paper. Every group member came to meetings, researched, wrote and edited for this paper… except one. One never came. Yet he continued to act as part of the group, hoping to get the grade. But, when the end of the semester came nearer, the group was required to fill out evaluations of fellow teammates. Before this, they had no idea that they were getting evaluated at all and thought it was a uniform grade. But they took the opportunity. The group thought the guy deserved a 0%, for zero work. Angry, he insisted he did a lot of work editing the paper over googledocs. So, the group leader looked through the access records, and found he had fixed two spelling errors. (The most hillarious part of this story is that he totaled the paper’s words, divided out the two spelling errors, and then offered the boy the 0.05% credit that his efforts were worth.)
This is example highlights the social problems that free riding causes. Individuals in groups feel that mere group presence and minimal contribution justifies them receiving full credit. They free load off others hard work and expect greater returns. This boy was a free rider, and his group knew it. Luckily, they were given an opportunity and devised a way to see that his free riding failed. But, in the real world, free riders often succeed and receive benefits from community goods.
Groupthink is a selective way of thinking within a cohesive group that tends to reject other foreign – yet reasonable – ways of thinking. Groups engage in groupthink, in part, because of a belief that their ideas are “better” and more informed than those of outside “lower” groups. Common symptoms of groupthink include an overestimation of their good moral character, closed-mindedness, and uniformity. The more cohesive – socially tightly “knit” – a group is, the more they will reject the (possibly beneficial and enlightening) ideas of others.
An example that I found on the “groupthink” phenomena is found in the movie, The Santa Clause. In the film, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) becomes Santa Clause and begins centering the majority of his life around the spirit of Christmas. While in a business meeting, one of his coworkers raises the idea of selling a toy “Santa” tank. The coworker explains that it would be a ‘big hit’ with children and most likely make a generous profit. As the group is going along with the idea, Scott Calvin ultimately can’t continue to resist, and begins to point out not only how ridiculous the idea of a Santa tank sounds, but how misleading its message would be of the true meaning of the special holiday spirit. Apparently oblivious (or at least keeping their mouths shut) to these facts, the other businessmen and women seated around the table do not say anything about the products‘ misleading purpose. The business was embarking on a ludicrous idea, and probably would have gone through with it due to their group “cohesiveness, closed-mindedness, and uniformity” had it not been for one man (Scott Calvin) that brought in fresh ideas into the group’s traditional thinking.
Other examples of groupthink include the Vietnam War. US government officials believed that by destroying Vietnam, they could bring the war to an end. In reality, many innocent individuals were killed. And again in Pearl Harbor, air reconnaissance lost contact with Japanese aircraft, but convinced themselves that nothing would come of it. The result: the loss of thousands of lives, 170 ships, and a US naval base. Groupthink can best be avoided as the group purposefully invites foreigners to raise opposing view points and as the group’s members critically analyze each idea and view point in its own light, and then to compare and contrast all presented ideas. As groupthink is overcome, major and minor decisions will be more likely to produce long-lasting beneficial results, rather than failed dreams and gigantic social catastrophes.
Deindividuation can come in many forms. It can be destructive like riots or lynchings. It can also be part of the high school experience. Deindividuation is when you lose your identity to that of the entity of the group. You are no longer you when you are in that setting. A great example of this is mean girls. After moving from Africa, Cady tries her best to fit in with this group at school, eventually completely losing her sense of identity and becoming one of the many.
Because she was part of that specific clique, Cady feels no responsibility for her actions, and it is even expected that she say and do mean things. We need to be careful of deindividuation. When you feel invisible you feel like you can get away with anything.
We all have that friend, the one we know will always try and get a ride but never offer the ride. The one who wont order and hope you dont finish your meal so they can score some free food. In all our groups of friends we have the one looking for a free ride. Free Riders are people who benefit from the group but give little in return. Is it wrong that we all kind of just roll with it?
For an example of this I am going to the greatest show of all time in Friends. And going to Joey Tribbiani and although Joey contributes to the group in many ways with food he is completely a free rider. Many times he makes his way over to monica and chandlers to steal some lasagna or steal some pizza that they have ordered. In the episode with the candy Joey takes advantage of the basket and steals all the candy and then joins the group of free riders as Monica makes more candy. Not in all ways is Joey a free rider but in his food habits he is definantly a free rider always seeking to get some food from someone while rarely offering some to the group.
Free Riders can be as frusturating they come, you barely have enough and yet they still find a way to get away with some free grub or convince you to give them another ride to somewhere. But my question becomes, would groups be the same without that one free rider who everyone knows is begging and can mock and tease the whole way!! Or would this just be me falling for group polarization? Either way free riders are their to benefit and think how much would go to waste if we didnt have them in our lives.
This phenomenon has a very simple definition while it can be widely experienced by everyone in the world nowadays. Deinviduation is basically acting in a group of people differently that would act by yourself. This trait is somewhat different to what is known as Self-monitoring. The latter is referred as behaving according to what the group is pushing an individual towards, it has more to do with acceptance. In the case of deinviduation it is also defined as loosening normal constraints on behavior, thus leading to a tendency of impulsive and deviant behavior. The interaction as a system of people inside a group moves people to act differently.
As far as my experience when attending high school I can report that I really felt much more free and excited to go out and have fun in parties. I definitely couldn’t hide my excitement, and that was expressed through dum jokes and goofy behavior just because I was surrounded by my best friends which had a lot in common with me. Therefore I felt no constraints to my behavior, in fact I felt more liberty to just have fun. This happened all the way from my freshman to senior year before I graduated from High School.
In sum, I can attest to the fact that this really happens. For me at least, I didn’t have to be or feel anonymous to behave in a different manner. To put it simply, I felt happier and in peace with myself when in groups. If there are any cons about being in groups I would categorize them as minimal compared to what you can learn about yourself when interacting with others.
Evaluation apprehension is the concern we have when we feel as though others are evaluating us.
She’s the Man is a movie in which Amanda Bynes dresses up like her brother in order to play soccer for her school’s rival team. The first time she arrives on campus the camera shows the students from her perspective. When she steps out of the car, everyone is staring at her and giving her quizzical looks.
This scene displays evaluation apprehension because Amanda Bynes shows obvious concern that her new classmates are evaluating her. She knows that if anyone were to find out that she in’t her brother, she can’t beat her ex-boyfriend in soccer. Yes. The stakes are high. She immediately gets back into the car and says, “Oh my gosh! They know.”
When you think of group think, one can’t help but conjure up visions of zombied out, snuggie wearing space cadets who are just dying to drink the KoolAid. (<-see what I did there?) But let us explore the more humorous side of mob mentality…
(This clip does contain one utterance of the S word and one taking of the Lord’s name in vain, you can mute it or enjoy the synopsis below the link.)
1. Here is someone in the crowd of this WWE-esque match:
4. And then THIS happens:
“THROW ALL THE CHAIRS!!!!”
And in a space of 40 secs, the stage was piled high with metal chairs, and one garbage can, and a trapped wrestler underneath.
Groupthink is the conformity of thought and action either by self-deception or forced manufacture of consent. Group think is a way for individuals to avoid accountability when something goes wrong. In the case this WWE chair incident, no one individual can be pointed out as being the sole instigator and perpetrator. In fact, at the end of the video posted above (44 secs) there is a boy in a green shirt who grabs a chair, looks around and sees that no one else is throwing chairs anymore so he sets it down and wanders off.
In a committee setting people experience group think when they don’t consider alternative suggestions presented by the minority or lesser ranked people and instead desire unanimity at the expense of quality decisions. The problems created are: exercising of coercive pressure on others, rationalization of poor decisions (I can only imagine that’s how the IPAD got its name), having an illusion of invulnerability and not expressing true feelings or concerns. Steps can be taken to guard against this conflict to conform and assimilate by having a larger group, impartial leaders, a hippie non-conformist on the board to question everything and using outside experts.
Groupthink may limit accountability but that doesn’t mean that every form of conformity is inherently bad because it’s normal to want to fit in. It’s about balance. Remember: It’s only the last one to throw the chair that gets in trouble.
Social facilitation is performing better with an audience present. After practice we use to run sprints on sprints on sprints. It was a conditioning session that lasted longer if we didn’t make our times. One time, one of my teammates ran over 100 down and backs by the time we left the gym. The basketball team shared the same court and had practice right after us. Ocassionally they would come in a little earlier to watch. With this social facilitation, when the boys were watching, it was more likely to make our time. Things went a lot smoother and we got in and out of the gym a lot faster. Social facilitation is all about the boost of the perfomance that was added when we had an audience.
“Mob Mentality in Japan” by Tatiana Herman
People act differently when they’re in groups as opposed to how they act when they’re alone. And the bigger the group, the greater this difference becomes. Deindividuation occurs when people lose their sense of accountability and sense of self due to the power of a mob. The idea of being a part of something so much bigger than themselves is so intoxicating that they convince themselves they can’t be identified or set apart from the crowd.
This clip clearly displays a pretty riled up group of people who engage in behavior that they normally wouldn’t alone or even in a smaller number of people. It’s safe to say that many of the “mobbers” are likely responsible workers and good family members as individuals. However as a mob, they scared people to near death and inconvenienced them as they targeted individuals with no one to turn to in their time of need.
My titles are so cleaver.
I’m going to be talking about deindividuation, not to be confused with the real compound word de-individualization. Because this one is a social psych term. I have this hypothesis that goes like this: some social psychologist spelled individualization wrong and then pretended that he was simply inventing a new term to cover his tracks. Regardless, the term represents the phenomenon that occurs when people in a group lose a sense of self-awareness.
This made me think of the classic scene from To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus is standing guard at the local jail house, protecting his one armed black client before the upcoming trial. Scout (his daughter) decides to go visit him (at least from what I remember that’s how she got there). At this same time a mob is approaching the jail to kill Tom Robinson (the man on trial). Scout is now in front of the jail, and innocently goes to talk with the mob, being familiar with some of its members. When she talks to one of them calling them by name, his disposition changes completely, and they all leave.
So why did this happen? Scout singled out a single member of the mob, making him into a single individual and eliminating the deindividuation that he was experiencing as part of the larger group. Thus being brought to a sense of himself and feeling responsible for his own actions, he was turned away from the purpose of the mob, and brought the others who where there with him around as well. They were only capable of anonymously performing the immoral act, but without the mask of deindividuation, they could not go through with it.
Transformational Leadership is leadership that is led and enabled by a leader’s vision and inspiration. It has significant influence in that it motivates others to commit to the group’s purpose and mission. One of the greatest transformational leaders is Nelson Mandela. The movie “Invictus” does an incredible job of showing how Mandela transformed a nation.
After serving 27 years in prison for several capital crimes, Mandela was released and made it his goal to help establish democracy in South Africa. In 1994 Mandela was elected as South Africa’s first black President four years later. Throughout his presidency, Mandela’s government carried out a number of progressive social reforms to reduce the social and economic inequalities in South Africa. Truly, Mandela’s vision and inspiration changed the hearts of an entire nation.
Transformational Leadership: Leadership that has a great influence on people’s actions. This is done when one of significant status (whether in a small or large group) gives their own opinions with the intention of influencing others to take his or her own views.
One example of this is in Beauty and the Beast when Belle is trying to convince the villagers that her father is not crazy. She takes out the magic mirror and shows them the Beast. I could not find the conversation that occurs before the song (link posted below), so here is the dialogue:
BELLE: Show me the beast!
(MAGIC MIRROR again shines, then produces the image of
the still depressed BEAST. The crowd oohs and aahs at it.)
WOMAN 1: Is it dangerous?
BELLE: (Trying to reassure her)
Oh, no. He’d never hurt anyone. Please, I know he looks vicious,
but he’s really kind and gentle. He’s my friend.
GASTON: If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had feelings for this monster.
BELLE: He’s no monster, Gaston. You are!
GASTON: She’s as crazy as the old man.
(He grabs the MIRROR from her hand.)
**Start of Song: “The Mob Song”**
The beast will make off with your children!
He’ll come after them in the night.
GASTON: We’re not safe ’til his head is mounted on my wall!
I say we kill the beast!
(MOB cheers him and repeats the words ‘kill him’.)
Belle is trying to tell the townsfolk that the Beast is not dangerous, she has no status or leadership. When Gaston begins to speak of how terrible and fearsome the Beast is, because of his significant status in his community, the townsfolk believe him and begin to have similar opinions. They, too, desire to kill the Beast.
Deindividuation – Doing together what we would not do alone.
I have not read the book “The Lord of The Flies.” I have only seen about 10 minutes of the movie. One of my friends tried to explain the whole thing to me and quite frankly I was really disturbed, but sometimes that is the case with deindividuation.
I am going to include a clip but with WARNING. This clip has some bad language and some may get offended so view with discretion.
I can’t see any of these kids in this video behaving the way they did if they were alone. In the clip you can notice that with more time they also change their appearance to have more physical anonymity. This makes it easier to act in a way contrary to their personal beliefs and more towards group behavior.
A group consists of at least two people who spend some amount of time together and define themselves as “us.” Freshman year, I was roommates with my cousin Hannah. She had already been in Provo for a few months, and she already had her “best friends.” When I met her two best friends, they ran up to me and said, “you’re going to be our best friend too.” It sounds strange, but we really have been best friends ever since. We were pen pals to each other on study abroads. We went to Red Lobster at least once a month for a pazookie. We cried with each other during our breakups, and we flew out to each others’ weddings. What defines us as a group is that we spend time together, and we define each other as a group: best friends.
Sophomore Year: at an Ugly Sweater/Hobo Christmas party
Junior Year: my best friends threw me a bridal shower
Senior Year: we graduated from BYU together
A funny scenes from the movie “The Wedding Planner” is when the two men decide to do some manly bonding. This scene is in example of Social Facilitation. Social Facilitation is the phenomenon that occurs when a person that is performing a well-learned task, they preform better in the presence of others. Here in this scene Matthew McConaughtey or Steve is doing manly bonding with Justin Chambers or Massimo. Because Steve is in the presence of Massimo his performance (or attempt to perform) of athletic abilities is enhanced.
Steve first speeds up the treadmill to a running pace to perform better then he originally attempted to because of the presence of another man. Just as our book mentions that cyclist will become faster in group settings then when riding alone, this is true in this example as well. Men will preform better when they are manly bonding or exercising together. I have found this to be true in my experience with zumba. When I go with my friend I tend to not take breaks and will be more involved then when I am alone. Social Facilitation can teach us a lot about how we should exercise in groups to enhance performance.
Evaluation apprehension is worrying about how others are evaluating us. This concern of evaluation can pertain to any aspect of us, whether it is our actions, our beliefs, our appearance, our attitudes, etc.
I have a sibling who especially exhibits this concern. She refuses to perform in front of groups because she is sure that everyone there will be judging her. She’s afraid that by being in front of a group people will evaluate her and decide that she is worthless, or beneath them, or deserves to be mocked. Instead of giving them the chance to evaluate her, she simply refuses to perform.
This is an example of evaluation apprehension because my sibling is worried that others will be evaluating her.
Transformational Leadership is when a leader has a remarkable impact on a group because of his or her vision and inspiration. Movies have countless examples of this type of leadership. In Pocahontas there is both a positive and a negative example. First, we’ll look at the negative example.
In this example, Radcliffe displayed the traits of a transformational leader by igniting his men’s hatred for the Indians. Without his influence, the men may not have taken such violent measures to saving John Smith. Prompting a group of people to go to war is not the most positive example of transformational leadership. The chief of the Indians displays the positive side of transformational leadership.
This clip is an example of how a leader can have a positive effect on a group of people. The chief’s inspirational speech has a significant influence on both the Indians and Radcliffe’s men. If he hadn’t shared his vision of peace, then both groups would have gone to war.
Social Facilitation is the tendency for individuals to have their performance of a task heightened or diminished by the presence of others. Being surrounded by other people can cause the individual to be more motivated to perform their best and at their highest capacity. However, it can also cause them to perform the task worse than if they were just by themselves. This depends on the individual’s previous confidence in their ability, as well as their personalities.
I found this to be very true with one of my students. I have taught piano for the past three years. For the most part, I have had a good relationship with my students. We get along well, and they are dedicated in practicing and in doing what I ask them. From this teaching experience, two examples come to mind of this phenomenon. The first one is an obvious example, relating to their performance in the end of the year recital. The students who were highly confident in their abilities played their pieces just as well in the recital as they did when it was just them and me in the same room. Those students who struggled and did not have that confidence, performed their pieces even more poorly in the recital than they did in our lessons. The presence of others helped some to really focus and do well, while it majorly impaired others. Second, I had a student who was not good at listening or paying attention during lessons. We had our lessons in an upstairs room where the door would be closed and it was just him and me. However, when the door was open and his brothers and sisters were walking by, he was much more attentive, and much more inclined to perform what I was asking him to do. He would do what he needed only in the presence of others.
These are good examples of social facilitation because they represent the effect that groups have on an individual. The presence of others can serve to some people’s advantage and other’s disadvantage in relation to their ability. I always found it interesting to note that the individuals who did well in the presence of others, had that confidence not only in their piano playing abilities, but in many other aspects of their life as well. I wonder if this concept can be tied to personality, and if that is a factor that plays into this facilitation as well. Those who had practiced hard and knew their pieces did wonderfully, the presence of others only served to make them more focused and determined as well. However, it was very evident that the group affected those with less confidence negatively.
Deindividuation is when individuals in a group abandon their normal reservations about certain actions in order to fit in with the group. In other words, doing something in a group that we would not have done alone. This has been an issue throughout the history of society because although individuals may have been moral beings before entering a group, as soon as they entered many groups have done some horrific things (such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis).
In the following clip, Lupin from A Very Potter Sequel illustrates deindividuation when the group decides to make fun of Hermione. Although this is a light view on the power of group pressure, it still provides a valid example. (skip ahead to 0:20)
As you can see, Lupin originally enters the scene trying to protect Hermione by stating that the song is not even that funny. That caused the group to turn on him by changing the song to “Lupin Can’t Sing,” and after a few seconds of trying to convince the group that he could sing, he gave in and refocused the attention on Hermione. Therefore, he abandoned his original beliefs when faced with the group’s pressure and specific rules. Instead of continuing to fight the group, Lupin gave in and experienced deindividuation.
This blog’s focus is on the concept of deindividuation, which refers to the tendency for a person who, when part of a group, takes on the group norms and behavioral expectations in lieu of his/her individuality, for good or for bad.
A great example of this effect comes from the mission I served for the LDS church in Canada. While there, I observed some of the best people that I thought I had ever observed in my life to that point. They were diligently seeking to serve others, get to know others, and were constantly kind to all they would meet. I hardly ever saw a shadow of unkindness in many of these fellow missionaries. These were norms that felt very good to play into. I found it easy to be kinder, more thoughtful, generous, and giving to people all around me because of the influence of the group of missionaries that surrounded me. I also very quickly found that there were behaviors that were considered inappropriate, such as discussing things from home too often or in too much detail, or talking about music and movies (which weren’t allowed as a missionary). Instead, missionaries were required to only listen only to approved music. What was interesting to me was to see these same missionaries after the mission, at mission reunions or otherwise, only to discover that some of them had habits and behaviors that I would have never guessed on the mission. Some of them had wild, ungroomed beards, while others loved to party and live life on the edge.
This displays deindividuation in that these people with these various habits and behaviors felt an instinctual need to fit into the group of which they were a part on the mission. Often times, individual likes and attitudes would evaporate into the expected role behavior that others implicitly and explicitly had on them as missionaries.
Social Comparison is when a person makes self-evaluations based on comparisons with others. So I may see a guy at the gym who’s lifting heavier weights than me, and I may then make a comparison of myself to the guy, and end up saying to myself something like “Wow, I’m sure not that strong”, or “Well, I’m clearly the toughest guy in here.” A comparison of myself to another leads to me making a self-evaluation. As an aside, the self-evaluations that result from social comparisons can be positive or negative.
A recent example of this phenomenon actually happened recently when my older brother came to visit. My brothers and I grew up watching lots of movies, but lately I’ve been trying to find some other ‘thing’ that could characterize my interests pretty well. So when my brother came to visit, he offered that we could watch a movie together. I declined, and instead we had a good conversation. But during our conversation, a basketball game was on TV in the background, and my brother was quite interested in the Miami-Indiana game. I could tell that he was very involved in basketball.
Later on, we came home and my wife received a gift in the mail from her older sister who lives in New York City. The gift was a children’s book based on Pride and Prejudice that helps kids learn to count. (Crazy, I know!) But anyways, the book said something like “This book is a fashionable way to introduce your child to Pride and Prejudice, and help him or her learn to count.” It made sense to me that our NYC relatives would be in to these cool and trendy things.
So after seeing all these examples, an existential gnawing began to eat away at me. Having compared myself with my older brother and his ‘thing’ being basketball, and my in-laws and their ‘thing’ being fashionable New York trends, I began to wonder about myself. What is my thing? What can people say I’m in to? I don’t know if I have a satisfactory answer yet—but I definitely experienced the effects of a negative self-evaluation resulting from a social comparison.
Social Loafing is when there is a group of people are working on a project or task and not everyone is putting in the work. This leads to unequal amounts of work for others. Some of the people in the group end up with more work and responsibilities because others are not putting in their share.
Last semester I took a class that required choosing a group and doing classwork with that group for the entire semester. Our entire grade depended on the work we worked on together throughout the semester. There was one particular example when one of my group members had an assignment, but did not get it done on time, which affected the grades of my other group member and myself. Also, this group member failed to make it to a couple of the meetings we had planned to try and complete assignments. The group member loafed off of our work and effort.
This is a good example of social loafing and helps point out common attributes of social loafers. Social loafing is something people commonly face when working within groups and is also a common aspect within social situations.
Deindividuation is when people lose their sense of self because of the group’s they belong to. They disregard their own attitudes and values in order to respond to group norms. This can happen for good or for bad.
In the movie clueless, Cher and Dionne decided to take Tai in and make her over. At the beginning of the movie, Tai is portrayed as a naive girl who doesn’t know the rules of high school. She takes interested in a guy, who Cher and Dionne don’t approve of so they stir her clear of him. They then decided to to a make over, where Tai slowly starts to lose her individuality. Towards the middle of the movie Tai has become the same as Cher and Dionne. She gave up her individuality and interests to fit into a group. A good example of her deindividuation is when the boy she was originally interested in invites her to his skateboard tournament, she refuses to go and is unnecessarily rude to him because her friends are there. In this instance she clearly conforms to group norms to stay apart of the group.
This is an example of deindividuation because Tai is unable to be herself in this group. She only acts and responds to group norms. She disregards her own attitudes and beliefs in order to do so. For example, she gives up the guy she was interested in. She stops drawing and only wears clothes that they think look good. She slowly loses herself throughout the movie and becomes identical to her group.
Often times, groups tend to make more extreme decisions than individuals normally would. While this phenomenon known as group think occurs for a variety of reasons, one is the illusion of invulnerability, members of the group begin to have such a great amount of optimism that they lose sight of the potential negative consequences. When group members show signs of illusion of invulnerability, the decision the group makes is most likely more extreme than is logical With everyone’s supposed support, the illusion continues to persist and ultimately wins.
I was recently part of a group that began to be influenced by the illusion of invulnerability. My roommates and I were going on a road trip to a wedding. The day we planned to leave, the check battery light appeared on the car. My roommate and I were driving back to our apartment from getting gas when it initially came on. Together, we decided it would be a better idea to go get it looked at than to risk anything happening on the trip. When we got back to the apartment to pick up our other roommates and told them the situation, we all decided to take the car into the shop. The mechanic told us that the car needed a new battery, and that it would take an hour or two to install. Considering that we were all anxious to hit the road, one roommate asked if I had an problems with starting the car or other things the battery is of use for. I replied no. Suddenly, everyone took their turn, stating that we should not get the battery replaced right now. Surely it would last the weekend if I have yet to have issues with it. At the very least, we should get a second opinion. Our attitude shifted from wanting nothing less than to get the battery fixed prior to starting the road trip to wanting nothing less than to get on the road that instant.
The attitude shift is an example of my roommates and I falling subject to the illusion of invulnerability. When it was just one roommate and I, we were confident that the right decision was to fix things before leaving for the road trip. Even the remaining two roommates agreed, until we found out how far behind the fix would put us in relation to our goal time. It only took one roommate’s opinion to sway the rest of us. We had completely lost sight of the potential consequences of not getting the battery fixed. If the battery gave out at any point in the road trip, we would not have had many options to replace it until we returned to Utah. However, that scenario seemed to never cross anyone’s mind as we were so eager to forget about the battery. Thus, we were under an illusion of invulnerability.
Evaluation Apprehension is when the knowledge of others judging you affects your performance.
Conclusion: As can be seen, the child in this video agreed to singing happy birthday, something he is likely to have done several times. However, as soon as the cameras started rolling and he knew others would be seeing what he was doing, he was clearly effected by the prospective judgement of those watching, completely froze up and was unable to carry out the task, thus illustrating evaluating apprehension.