It is shown that people have the tendency to perform better when in a group this is called social facilitation. There have been other studies done contradicting this and with more difficult experiments it actually hurts a person’s performance in a group. As Zajonc stated; a state of arousal is linked to performance without the presence of others. When an individuals is faced with a more difficult task it may lower that persons self esteem and then lead to that person not performing at his or her best. Most people are afraid of being judged and this will affect all of our normal everyday behaviors due to a low self esteem issues. Now with simple tasks a person’s performance can be a positive and a stimulating experience allowing a person to perform better and set higher goals for themselves and have higher self esteem. I am a person who can identify with these, in starting school a few years back I was very intimidated and self conscious about being in a class room with people I did not know. I watched everything I said or did and did not want to even raise my hand because I did not want to be embarrassed if I answered incorrectly or sounded stupid. At first in my class I did not perform very well with the group, but as I got to know everyone my positivity started coming out and I was able to benefit with being in a group and excelled.
The article I read in the Journal of Social Psychology was about a widely accepted finding that in social psychology, that the mere presence of others reduces anxiety. Based on Wrightsman’s widely accepted findings, that his study which he originally demonstrated that the reduction of anxiety is less in the presence of others (at least firstborns). Though Epley raised some questions on the methodology of Wrightsman’s study and about the real reason there was an anxiety reduction, Epley stated that it was probably due to the distractions or social comparison and not just the presence of others. I believe that depending on the situation the group may be in. I also found that also it depends on the situation and task at hand that a group is in and if the conditions are peaceful or hectic. The next article I read stated that the presence and type of situation and the connection between the two with the presence of an audience and how they react to the performance. Participants were performing various tasks both in group settings and alone. In group settings word association was better performed compared to problem solving tasks which were more successful while performed alone. It all depends on the task at hand and in what situation the task is being performed in and under what conditions.
Journal of Social Psychology. Aug1978, Vol. 105 Issue 2, p301. 2p.