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Social loa¬ng is also less likely when individual contributions can be clearly iden-
ti¬ed. Generally, when individuals can be identi¬ed and cannot simply blend in with
the background of other workers, they are less likely to loaf (Williams, Harkins, &
Latan©, 1981). The members of an automobile manufacturing team, for example, are
more careful about their tasks and less willing to pass on defective work if they have
to sign for each piece they do. If responsibility for defects is clear, if positive effort and
contribution are rewarded, and if management punishes free riders, then social loa¬ng
will be further diminished (Shepperd, 1993). Similarly, Shepperd and Taylor (1999)
showed that if group members perceive a strong relationship between their effort and
a favorable outcome for the group, social loa¬ng does not happen, and there are no
free riders.
Social loa¬ng is a phenomenon that is very robust and occurs in a variety of situa-
tions and cultures (Forgas, Williams, & von Hippel, 2004; Karau & Williams, 1993). It
has been found to be more common among men than women and among members of
Eastern as opposed to Western cultures. These cultural and gender differences seem to
be related to values. Many women and many individuals in Eastern cultures attach more
importance to group harmony and group success and satisfaction. Many men, especially
in Western cultures, attach more value to individual advancement and rewards and to
other peopleʼs evaluations. Groups tend to mask individual differences. For this reason,
Western men may have less inclination to perform well in group situations. The result
is social loa¬ng (Karau & Williams, 1993).
Karau and Williams have therefore shown that groups do not necessarily generate
conditions that depress some individual membersʼ motivations to perform well. Recently,
Kerr and his coworkers have rediscovered another motivational gain in groups known
Kohler effect The effect
as the Kohler effect (Kerr & Tindale, 2005; Kerr, Messe, Parke, & Sambolec, 2005;
where a less competent
Messe et al., 2002). These researchers rediscovered work done by Kohler (1926) in
group member increases
which the researcher reported that a less-capable member of a two-person group (a dyad)
performance in a dyad when
working together on a task works harder and performs better than expected when the group performance depends on
group product is to be a result of the combined (conjunctive) effort of the two members. combined effort.
This seems to be the opposite of social loa¬ng. The weaker member of the group, rather
than free-riding or loa¬ng, in fact increases his or her effort. For, example, Kohler found
that members of a Berlin rowing club worked harder at a physical performance task as
part of a two- or three-man crew than when they performed as individuals. Hertel et
al. (2000) called this a Kohler motivation gain. The question then was how this Kohler
motivation gain occurs.
It is possible in a small group (and two or three is as small as one can get) that
the least-competent member “knows” that her performance is crucial to a good group
outcome. Or, conceivably, the weakest member might feel that she is in competi-
tion with the other members. These were but two of the possible motivations for the
Kohler effect that Kerr et al. (2005) examined in their research. Kerr and his col-
leagues reasoned that the amount of feedback individuals were given with respect to
their performance might be the crucial factor. For example, if you are not as good at
the task as the other members, information about how the better members are doing
should affect your effort and performance. So Kerr et al. (2005) varied the amount of
feedback individuals were provided with. The results revealed that knowledge about
level of performance (feedback) was not necessary for the Kohler effect (increase per-
formance by the weaker member of the dyad). However, if the group members were
anonymous and were given absolutely no feedback about performance, then motiva-
tion gain was wiped out.
Social Psychology
292

With no information about the effect of the weakest memberʼs contribution and no
possibility for recognition, there is no motivation gain. Well, thatʼs not surprising. So
it appears that motivation gains in groups may occur due in part to social comparison
effects, in which there is some competition between two group members, as well as the
personal motivation of the weakest member to see how well that member can perform
(Kerr et al., 2005).



Groups, Self-Identity, and Intergroup Relationships
Groups not only affect how we perform, but they also in¬‚uence our individual sense
of worth”our self-esteem”which, in turn, has an impact on how one group relates to
other groups in a society. In 1971, Tajfel and his colleagues showed that group catego-
rizations, along with an in-group identi¬cation, are both necessary and suf¬cient condi-
tions for groups to discriminate against other groups (Rubin & Hewstone, 1998). Recall
that in Chapter 4 Tajfel showed that even if people were randomly assigned to a group
(minimal group categorization), they tended to favor members of that group when dis-
tributing very small rewards (the in-group bias; Tajfel, Billig, Bundy, & Flament, 1971).
For example, boys in a minimal group experiment (“you overestimated the number of
dots on a screen and, therefore, you are in the overestimator group”) gave more money
to members of their group (the in-group) than to members of the underestimator group
(the out-group). Therefore, even the most minimal group situation appears to be suf-
¬cient for an in-group bias (favoring members of your group) to occur.
Tajfelʼs ¬ndings suggested to him that individuals obtain part of their self-concept,
their social identity, from their group memberships and that they seek to nourish a posi-
tive social (group) identity to heighten their own self-esteem. Groups that are successful
and are held in high esteem by society enhance the esteem of its members. The opposite
is also true. All of this depends on the social comparison with relevant out-groups on
issues that are important to both (Mummendey & Wenzel, 1999). Favorable compari-
sons enhance the group and its members. Social identity, then, is a de¬nition of the self
in terms of group membership (Brewer, 1993; Caporael, 1997). Changes in the fate of
the group imply changes in the self-concept of the individual members.
Tajfelʼs theory is called self-identity theory (SIT) and proposes that a number of
self-identity theory (SIT)
A theory proposing that a factors predict one groupʼs reaction to other competing groups in society. It pertains
number of factors predict one to what may arise from identi¬cation with a social category (membership in a social,
group™s reaction to competing
political, racial, religious group, etc.). It does not say that once we identify with a group,
groups and concerning what
we inevitably will discriminate against other groups. However, SIT does lay out the
may arise from identi¬cation
conditions under which such discrimination may take place. Generally, SIT assumes
with a social category.
that the potential that one group will tend to discriminate or downgrade another group
will be affected by four factors:

1. How strongly the in-group members identify with their group
2. The importance of the social category that the in-group represents
3. The dimension on which the groups are competing (the more important the
dimension, the greater the potential for con¬‚ict)
4. The groupʼs relative status and the difference in status between the in-group and
the out-group (Oakes, Haslam, & Turner, 1994)
Chapter 8 Group Processes 293

Therefore, if members strongly identify with the group; if the group represents a
crucial identi¬cation category”say, race, religion, or more af¬liative groups such as
a social organization; if the competition occurs on a crucial dimension (jobs, college
entrance possibilities, intense sports rivalries); and if the result can be expected to affect
the status of the group relative to its competitor, SIT predicts intergroup discrimination.
Low or threatened self-esteem will increase intergroup discrimination because of the
need to enhance oneʼs social identity (Hogg & Abrams, 1990). Groups that are success-
ful in intergroup discrimination will enhance social identity and self-esteem (Rubin &
Hewstone, 1998).
When self-esteem is threatened by group failure, people tend to respond in ways
that can maintain their positive identity and sense of reality. For example, Duck and her
colleagues examined the response of groups in a hotly contested political campaign.
These researchers found that individuals who strongly identi¬ed with their political party
were more likely to see the media coverage of the campaign as biased and favoring the
other side (Duck, Terry, & Hogg, 1998). This was particularly strong for members of
the weaker political party, as SIT would predict, because the weaker party was more
threatened. However, when the weaker party won, they were less likely to think that the
media were biased, whereas the losing, stronger party began to think the media were
biased against them.
A member who threatens the success of a group also threatens the positive image
black-sheep effect
of the group. This leads to the black-sheep effect, the observation that whereas an
The phenomenon in which an
attractive in-group member is rated more highly than an attractive member of an
attractive in-group member
out-group, an unattractive in-group member is perceived more negatively than an
is rated more highly than
unattractive out-group member (Marques & Paez, 1994). The SIT inference is that the
an attractive member of an
unattractive in-group member is a serious threat to the in-groupʼs image (Mummendey out“group, and an unattractive
&Wenzel, 1999). in-group member is perceived
more negatively than an
unattractive out-group member.
The Power of Groups to Punish: Social Ostracism
Although groups may serve to increase our self-esteem by enhancing our social iden-
tity, groups have the power to exact painful, even dreadful, punishment. Baumeister
and Leary (1995) observed that there is little in life so frightful as being excluded from
groups that are important to us. Most of us spend much of our time in the presence of
other people. The presence of others provides us not only with opportunities for posi-
tive interactions but also for risks of being ignored, excluded, and rejected. Kipling
Williams (Williams, Fogas, & von Hippel, 2005; Zadro, Williams, & Richardson, 2004)
provided an innovative approach to the study of the effects of being ignored or rejected
ostracism The widespread
by the group. Such behavior is called social ostracism and is de¬ned by Williams as the
and universal behavior of
act of excluding or ignoring other individuals or groups. This behavior is widespread
excluding or ignoring other
and universal. Williams noted that organizations, employers, coworkers, friends, and
individuals or groups.
family all may ignore or disengage from people (the silent treatment) to punish, control,
and vent anger. The pervasiveness of ostracism is re¬‚ected by a survey conducted by
Williams and his coworkers that showed that 67% of the sample surveyed said they
had used the silent treatment (deliberately not speaking to a person in their presence)
on a loved one, and 75% indicated that they had been a target of the silent treatment by
a loved one (Faulkner & Williams, 1995). As you might imagine, the silent treatment
is a marker of a relationship that is disintegrating. From the point of view of the victim
of this silent treatment, social ostracism is the perception of being ignored by others in
the victimʼs presence (Williams & Zadro, 2001).
Social Psychology
294

Williams and his colleague Sommer identi¬ed several forms of ostracism (Williams
& Sommer, 1997). First, they distinguish between social and physical ostracism. Physical
ostracism includes solitary con¬nement, exile, or the time-out room in grade school.
Social ostracism is summed up by phrases we all know: the cold shoulder, the silent
treatment.
In the social psychological realm, punitive ostracism and defensive ostracism are
among the various guises ostracism may take. Punitive ostracism refers to behaviors
(ignoring, shunning) that are perceived by the victim as intended to be deliberate and
harmful. Sometimes, Williams and Sommer pointed out, people also engage in defen-
sive ostracism, a kind of preemptive strike when you think someone might feel nega-
tively toward you.
The purpose of ostracism from the point of view of the ostracizer is clear: controlling
the behavior of the victim. Ostracizers also report being rewarded when they see that
their tactics are working. Certainly, defensive ostracism, ignoring someone before they
can harm you or ignore you, seems to raise the self-esteem of the ostracizer (Sommer,
Williams, Ciarocco, & Baumeister, 1999).
Williams developed a number of creative methods to induce the perception of
being ostracized in laboratory experiments. Williams and Sommer (1997) used a ball-
tossing game in which two individuals working as confederates of the experimenters
either included or socially ostracized a participant during a 5-minute ball-tossing game.
Participants who were waiting for a group activity to begin were placed in a waiting
room that happened to have a number of objects, including a ball. Three people were
involved, the two confederates and the unknowing research participant. All participants
were thrown the ball during the ¬rst minute, but those in the ostracized condition were
not thrown the ball during the remaining 4 minutes. The experimenter then returned to
conduct the second part of the study.
After the ball-tossing ended in the Williams and Sommer (1997) experiment, par-
ticipants were asked to think of as many uses for an object as possible within a speci¬ed
time limit. They performed this task in the same room either collectively (in which they
were told that only the group effort would be recorded) or coactively (in which their own
individual performances would be compared to that of the other group members) with
the two confederates. Williams and Sommer predicted that ostracized targets”those
excluded from the ball tossing”would try to regain a sense of belonging by working
comparatively harder on the collective task, thereby contributing to the groupʼs success.
Williams and Sommer found support for this hypothesis, but only for female partici-
pants. Whether they were ostracized in the ball-tossing task, males displayed social
loa¬ng by being less productive when working collectively than when working coact-
ively. Females, however, behaved quite differently, depending on whether they had been
ostracized or included. When included, they tended to work about as hard collectively
as coactively, but when ostracized, they were actually more productive when working
collectively compared to when they worked coactively.
Women also demonstrated that they were interested in regaining a sense of being a
valued member of the group by displaying nonverbal commitment (i.e., leaning forward,
smiling), whereas males tended to employ face-saving techniques such as combing their
hair, looking through their wallets, and manipulating objects, all in the service of being
“cool” and showing that they were unaffected by the ostracism. We can conclude that
ostracism did threaten sense of belonging for both males and females, but ostracized
females tried to regain a sense of belonging, whereas males acted to regain self-esteem
(Williams & Sommer, 1997; Williams et al., 2005).
Chapter 8 Group Processes 295

Ostracism is not limited to face-to-face contacts. The power of ostracism is observed
even in computer games in which one player is excluded from a ball-tossing (Internet)
computer game called cyberball (Zadro et al., 2004). At a predetermined point in the
game, one of the players is excluded. That is, the other players no longer “throw” the
ball to that person. Players that are excluded report a loss of self-esteem. A study by
Smith and Williams (2004) also reported that the negative effects of ostracism are not
limited to face-to-face contacts. The power of ostracism can also be felt via text mes-
sages on cell phones. Smith and Williams (2004) in the text message study devised a
three-way interaction via cell phones in which all three people are initially included in
the text messaging. However, in one of the conditions of the study, one participant is
excluded from the conversation. That person no longer received any direct messages
nor did the person see the messages exchanged between the other two text messengers.
Those excluded reported feeling lower levels of belonging, control, self-esteem, and
“meaningful existence” (Smith & Williams, 2004).

Deindividuation and Anonymity: The Power of Groups
to Do Violence
Although ostracism refers to essentially psychological methods of exclusion from the
group, other more dangerous behaviors occur in group settings. We have seen that
when certain individuals feel they canʼt be identi¬ed by their actions or achievements,
they tend to loaf. This is a common group effect. A decline in individual identity seems
to mean a decline in a personʼs sense of responsibility. Anonymity can alter peopleʼs
ethical and moral behavior.
Observers of group behavior have long known that certain kinds of groups have
the potential for great mischief. Groups at sporting events have engaged in murder and
mayhem when their soccer teams have lost. One element present in such groups is that
the individuals are not easily identi¬able. People get lost in the mass and seem to lose
their self-identity and self-awareness. Social psychologists have called this loss of inhi-
deindividuation
bition while engulfed in a group deindividuation (Zimbardo, 1969).
A phenomenon that occurs in
People who are deindividuated seem to become less aware of their own moral
large-group (crowd) situations
standards and are much more likely to respond to violent or aggressive cues (Prentice-
in which individual identity
Dunn & Rogers, 1989). In fact, deindividuated people are quick to respond to any cues.
is lost within the anonymity
Research suggests that when people are submerged in a group, they become impulsive, of the large group, perhaps
aroused, and wrapped up in the cues of the moment (Spivey & Prentice-Dunn, 1990). leading to a lowering of
inhibitions against negative
Their action is determined by whatever the group does.
behaviors.
Groups and organizations whose primary purpose involves violence often attempt
to deindividuate their members. Certainly, the white sheets covering the members of
the Ku Klux Klan are a prime example of this. So, too, are the training methods of most
military organizations. Uniforms serve to lower a sense of self-awareness and make it
easier to respond to aggressive cues.
There is some evidence that the larger the group, the more likely it is that individ-

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