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.