Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 1982

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Thomas T. Jackson

Abstract

Social facilitation refers to the enhancement of an organism’s performance in the presence of other organisms of the same species and is considered one of the oldest experimental paradigms of social psychology. Since 1897, when the first recorded social facilitation studies were performed, an enormous amount of information on this phenomenon has been collected. The data that have been collected on social facilitation have characteristically revealed contradictory results. Many experimenters have investigated this phenomenon in an attempt to explain socially facilitated behavior and three main theories have fared well in this attempt. However, none of these theories have been totally satisfactory. The present investigation offers a new approach to dealing with the social facilitation phenomenon in that this research looks at the sociability of an organism as a possible variable in explaining social facilitation. Eighty-two animal studies from the literature were collected and placed in a table which shows information on each of these studies relevant to this research (i.e., author & date, subjects, sociability, task, social facilitation results). A point-biserial correlation was conducted between sociability of the animal in a particular study and the social facilitation results of that study in order to assess the relationship between these two variables. This analysis revealed no statistically significant results. However, in an attempt to explain this lack of correlation, the present research reveals some bias in the literature and offers suggestions as to correcting these biases. This work also provides a scale with which to classify animal species according to their sociability. Finally, a suggestion is made as to the importance of looking at social behavior from a biological standpoint.

Rights

Copyright 1982 David L. Breault

Comments

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