Does ‘Mere Presence’ of others affect us?


“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” – Karl Marx, Das Kapital

Earlier article we had some exposure on Group Influence (click here). Today, lets look into to understanding the blurs between the arguments on, does mere presence of others affects us? The mere presence argument is to mean that people aren’t competing, no appreciation or reward or punish. The situation is like passive audience. Norman Triplett (1898) noticed that cyclists’ times faster when racing together than when racing alone. In his own experiments with children on a task to wind string on a fishing reel as rapidly as possible. He found that children wound faster when worked with others than when worked alone. Several other experiments such as simple problems of multiplication, motor tasks and others confirmed the understanding of Social Facilitation.

However this might have seemed good but several others studies tasks which had complex multiplication problems or learning a maze hindered the performances. This confusion on sometimes facilitates or hinders, had ground to a halt. After nearly two and half decade, Robert Zajonc used basis from experimental psychology: Arousal enhances whatever response tendency is dominant. This principle actually helped in understanding the confusion that otherwise that remained for awhile. Mullen and others, found that others’ presence will energize people or arouse people. Performances showed easy behavior in easier tasks because of the social facilitates dominant responses and difficult behavior on difficult tasks because of the social facilitates dominant responses. This is often seen during a game/match that a supportive crowd responses can energies the players to performer. Does this mean larger crowd always help others performance? Let’s look into this in our next article. Till then, Good day!

Likely Definition: Social facilitation is the tendency of people to perform simple or well-learned tasks better when others are present.

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2 thoughts on “Does ‘Mere Presence’ of others affect us?

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