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What is Social Facilitation

What is social facilitation? How has the definition of social facilitation evolved? How do the concepts of personal space and territoriality differ? How is human territoriality different from that of nonhuman species?

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(1) What is Social Facilitation?

Zajonck's Theory of Social facilitation holds that people have a tendency to perform better on simple tasks when in the presence of other people. For instance, the presence of others will facilitate reflexive responses. Rajecki, Ickes, Corcoran, & Lenerz (1997) conducted a study to explain the influence of social affiliation on behavior utilizing the term mere presence. He defined the term "mere presence" to refer to the proximity of participants involving a sample (N=60) of blindfolded college women. According to Rajecki et al ., with his theory, Zajonck meant to rule out specific factors such as competition or rivalry, directive cues from one organism to another, and various forms of social reinforcement.
In their study, Rajeck et al (1997) found that the presence of an audience was a sufficient condition to permit arousal from the behavior of another human subject. Further, they found an improvement in the responding regardless of whether the person could evaluate the performance (i.e., see or not see). They explain that the possible antecedent of the mere effect is that the presence of either a potentially evaluative or a non-evaluative (mere presence) audience facilitates performance by increasing drive.

(2) How has the definition of social facilitation evolved?

Besides influencing behaviors, the presence of others can ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes how the definition of social facilitation evolved, and discusses how the concepts of personal space and territoriality differ.