- Describe the situations under which social facilitation and social inhibition might occur, and review the theories that have been used to explain these processes.
- Outline the effects of member characteristics, process gains, and process losses on group performance.
- Summarize how social psychologists classify the different types of tasks that groups are asked to perform.
- Explain the influence of social loafing on group performance.
When important tasks need to be performed quickly or effectively, we frequently create groups to accomplish them. Many people believe that groups are more effective than individuals in performing tasks (Nijstad, Stroebe, & Lodewijkx, 2006), and such a belief seems commonsensical. After all, because groups have many members, they will also have more resources and thus more ability to efficiently perform tasks and make good decisions. However, although groups sometimes do perform better than individuals, this outcome is not guaranteed. Let’s consider some of the many variables that can influence group performance.