Entrenamiento y salud Más Psicología Deportiva

Social Facilitation issues, reasons why has diminished and current studies

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Issues that may arise when any performer perceives they are being evaluated whilst co-acting with other performers:

Previous studies have shown that the presence of others while performing can enhance physiological stimulation and the performance can be either facilitated or inhibited (Thomas et al., 2018). Social facilitation is a phenomenon known as “a tendency for individuals to perform differently when in the mere presence of others”. According to Zajonc (1965) model of the social facilitation, drive theory, the simple presence of others plays a crucial role and elevates the arousal level, which raises the likelihood that the dominant response (DR) will occur.

If the DR is likely to be correct, the performing task improves, while if the DR is difficult or not learned properly, the task is not performed better. However, Cottrell et al. (1968) drive effects upon individual performance will not occur unless the others present are either spectators or co-actors. Furthermore, Ukezono et al. (2015) explain that the effects of social facilitation have been divided into two subcategories, “the co-action effect,” when other individuals are present and “the audience effect,” the presence is an evaluative observer.

Dominating Reaction.

Moreover, Henchy & Glass (1968) argues that the dominating reaction occurs only when the performer senses that their performance is being evaluated, not just when others are around. The suggested alternative of Zajonc’s theory is known as evaluation apprehension, based on concern of being evaluated. One aspect that can be pointed in this model is how the presence of another individual can set judgments on performances so that actions are very much appraised, and others are not. One of the issues of this is that of identifying and expecting which performances are being valued.

Many of the actions are different in the presence of others (Guerin & Innes, 1984). Objective self-awareness is another theory along with these lines, Wicklund (1975) suggested that the presence of others led to an increase in objective self-awareness or self-focused attention. This results in an adverse cognitive state, which drives us to do better. This effort involved to do well implies the improvement of performance for simple tasks. It was stated that when it comes to complicated activities, we overestimate our skills by striving harder, which leads to a decrease in performance (Wicklund, 1975).

The reasons why support for social facilitation theory has diminished over the last 30 years:

Norman Triplett’s 1898 article “The Dynamogenic Factors in Pacemaking and Competition,” find that the presence of others, particularly co-acting others, improved performance. Robert Zajonc article on social facilitation (Zajonc, 1965) argued that the presence of others could facilitate or impaired performance dependent on the kind of task being executed.  Zajonc suggested that the reason for the difference was a stimulation or drive factor.

The drive theory argues that the presence of others causes homogeneous arousal or drive that enhanced the probability of a dominant response. This theory motivated a burst of studies to make sense of that number of studies, investigators review all those studies altogether (meta-analysis) to obtain replicable components and measure the reliability of the phenomena. After reviewing all this work, the authors concluded that the presence of others did reduce difficult performing accuracy and reduced speed of reacting, also, showed that the presence of others accelerated easy performance pace (Bond & Titus, 1983).

Two main issues.

The results could be caused by ceiling effects, a performance so close to perfect in easy tasks and the advantage resulting from the presence of others may be difficult to detect. Despite the meta-analysis reinforced social psychologists’ allegations that these results were strong, the manifestation of social facilitation/inhibition does not deliver the question of why the outcomes happen. The role of physiological stimulation and the level to which social facilitation processes include processes such as evaluation apprehension and attention are the two main issues that investigators have been debating for the last 30 years.

Two recent papers published within this field despite reservations surrounding Zajonc’s original model:

Impact of active and passive social facilitation on self-paced endurance and sprint exercise: Encouragement augments performance and motivation to exercise (Edwards et al., 2018).

Edwards et al. (2018) document explored the impact of social facilitation on mutually performance and the motivation to exercise. The objective of the research was to consequently consider verbal encouragement to arouse positive behavioural adherence to exercise and increased performance. For this study, they compared 12 individuals.

Exercise environments with external verbal encouragement (EVE) and without external verbal encouragement (WVE) in both endurance and sprint cycling tasks in a randomised crossover design. The results showed a significant increase in the average power generated by performers with EVE in each exercise and a significant effect on reported motivation to exercise the next day. The study concluded that EVE in both activities caused improvements in performing and enthusiasm to maintain an exercise regimen the next day.

Influence of social facilitation on learning development using a Wii Balanceboard™ (Lau et al., 2019)

Using an experimental methodology, Lau et al. (2019) investigate if and under what interaction settings social facilitation emerges to increase a gamer’s performance. For this study, a group of 70 students participated. The task at the essence of the experiment depends on a Nintendo Wii Balanceboard™. The contributors were randomly allocated to one of two social influence-sessions observers or opponents. Each observer had to perform two sequences of games.

The findings of the two evaluations indicated that there was only a significant disparity in the situation between individual vs. opponent. The limitation of this study indicates that the participants were healthy young adults and further testing with older patients and or with balance difficulty is still hypothetical, also, participants did not receive feedback on how good they were scoring against the other group.


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Bond, C., & Titus, L. (1983). Social facilitation: A meta-analysis of 241 studies. Psychological Bulletin, 94, 265–292. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.94.2.265

Cottrell, N. B., Wack, D. L., Sekerak, GaryJ., & Rittle, R. H. (1968). Social Facilitation of Dominant Responses by the Presence of an Audience and the Mere Presence of Others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9(3), 245–250. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0025902

Edwards, A. M., Dutton-Challis, L., Cottrell, D., Guy, J. H., & Hettinga, F. J. (2018). Impact of active and passive social facilitation on self-paced endurance and sprint exercise: Encouragement augments performance and motivation to exercise. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, 4(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000368

Guerin, B., & Innes, J. M. (1984). Explanations of social facilitation: A review. Current Psychology, 3(2), 32–52. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02686548

More references

Henchy, T., & Glass, D. C. (1968). Evaluation apprehension and the social facilitation of dominant and subordinate responses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 10(4), 446.

Lau, A., Schwarz, J., & Stoll, O. (2019). Influence of social facilitation on learning development using a Wii BalanceboardTM. German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research, 49(1), 97–102. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12662-018-0562-8

Thomas, S., Lugo, R., Channon, A., & Spence, A. (2018). The influence of competitive co-action on kata performance. Martial Arts Studies, 0(5), 52. https://doi.org/10.18573/mas.49

Wicklund, R. A. (1975). Objective Self-Awareness11Much of the research reported in this paper as well as the writing of this paper were supported by NSF Grant GS-31890. Sharon S. Brehm, William J. Ickes, Michael F. Scheier, and Melvin L. Snyder are acknowledged for their suggest (L. B. T.-A. in E. S. P. Berkowitz, Ed.; Vol. 8, pp. 233–275). Academic Press. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60252-X

Zajonc, R. B. (1965). Social facilitation. In Science (Vol. 149, Issue 3681, pp. 269–274). https://doi.org/10.1126/science.149.3681.269



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