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increased arousal; or it may be due to anxiety about being judged (evaluation
apprehension), which increases arousal; or, according to distraction-con¬‚ict
theory, it may be due to con¬‚icts for attention.
5. What motivational decreases affect performance?
Sometimes, being in a group enhances performance. Other times, individuals
performing in groups display social loa¬ng, a tendency not to perform to
capacity. This seems to occur when the task is not that important or when
individual output cannot be evaluated. When people become free riders,
others often work harder to make up for their lack of effort, a process known
as social compensation.
6. What motivational gains occur because of group interaction? What is the
Kohler effect?
Kerr and his colleagues rediscovered work done by Kohler (1926) in which
the researcher reported that a less-capable member of a two-person group
(a dyad) working together on a task works harder and performs better
than expected when the group product is to be a result of the combined
(conjunctive) effort of the two members. 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. Why does this occur? It seems 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.
7. What are the potential negative aspects of groups?
When members of a crowd cannot be identi¬ed individually, and therefore feel
they have become anonymous, they may experience deindividuation, a loss of
self-identity. Their sense of personal responsibility diminishes, and they tend
to lose their inhibitions. This is more likely to happen if the crowd is large or
is physically distant from a victim. Deindividuation can be a factor in mob
violence. Loss of personal identity can also be positive, such as when group
members act without thinking to save othersʼ lives.
Although groups may serve to increase our self-esteem by enhancing
our social identity, they also have the power to exact painful, even dreadful,
punishment. Kipling Williams has studied the effects of being ignored or
rejected by the group. Such behavior is called social ostracism and is de¬ned
by Williams as the act of excluding or ignoring other individuals or groups.
This behavior is widespread and universal. Williams noted that organizations,
employers, coworkers, friends, and 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. 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.
Social Psychology
312

8. With regard to solving problems: Are groups better than individuals, or are
individuals better than groups?
Groups are more effective in processing information than are the individual
members of the group, perhaps because they use transactive memory systems,
by which each member may recall different things so that the group can
produce a more complete memory then any one member can. Groups do not
usually perform better than their very best individual member, but recent
work has shown that groups may be superior when dealing with complex
problems, because they have more resources and can be more creative than
can individuals. In one study, three-, four-, and ¬ve-person groups solved the
problems more quickly and produced more complex solutions to the problems
than the best individual member. So, when problems are really intellectually
challenging, groups do better than the best member working alone.
9. What are hidden pro¬les, and what effects do they have on group decision
making?
“Hidden pro¬les” refers to a situation in which the groupʼs task is to pick the
best alternative”say, the best job applicant”but the relevant information
to make this choice is distributed among the group members such that no
one member has enough information to make the right choice alone. It
appears that group members try to avoid con¬‚ict by selectively withholding
information; the researchers concluded that face-to-face, unstructured
discussion is not a good way to inform group members of unshared
information.
10. What is the effect of different leadership styles on group decision making?
Leadership is also a factor in group effectiveness. Research has identi¬ed two
common styles of leadership. The ¬rst, the participative leader, is someone
who shares power with the other members of the group and includes them in
the decision making. Another leadership style, the directive leader, gives less
value to participation, emphasizes the need for agreement, and prefers his or
her solution. Groups under participative leadership made many more incorrect
decisions. Participative leaders can get members to bring out more unshared
information, and that is important because it is usually unshared information
that leads to the most accurate decisions. However, a directive leader makes
the group focus more on unshared information and therefore tends to produce
fewer mistakes than do participative leaders.
Gender accounts for a relatively small part of the variation among
leadership styles. However, some research indicates that the qualities that
distinguish women leaders from their male counterparts appear to be directly
related to greater group effectiveness. Research has shown that hands-on
positive leadership, which de¬nes the transformational leader (the preferred
style of women), can be effective.
Chapter 8 Group Processes 313

11. How do groups reach decisions?
Decision-making groups need to develop decision rules”rules about
how many people must agree”in order to blend individual choices into a
group outcome. Two common decision rules are majority and unanimity
(consensus). Generally, majority wins is the dominant decision rule, but the
selection of a decision rule often depends on the group task.
12. What makes a leader legitimate in the eyes of the group members?
Two factors that are crucial for legitimacy are, ¬rst, how people are treated by
authorities, regardless of how the leaders have evaluated them, and second,
whether the members share group membership with the authorities. Finally,
research shows that people value the leaderʼs integrity more than they do the
leaderʼs competence.
13. What factors affect the decision-making ability and effectiveness of a group?
Group composition is important to the decision-making ability of a group.
Groups of high-ability individuals seem to perform better than groups of low-
ability individuals, but membersʼ abilities blend and mix in unexpected ways
to produce a group IQ. Groups seem to perform better when members have
complementary skills but when no single member is much more talented than
the others.
Group size also affects group productivity. Although increasing group
size increases the resources available to the group, there is also more process
loss; that is, it becomes harder to reach a decision. As more people are added
to the group, the number of people who actually make a contribution”the
groupʼs functional size”does not increase.
Research has shown differences between racially diverse groups and
racially homogeneous groups in jury decision making. For example, whites
in diverse groups were more likely to be lenient toward a black defendant
than were whites in all-white groups. Whites in diverse juries processed
more information and brought out more facts that whites in homogeneous
white groups. Diverse juries took more time to deliberate and diverse groups
discussed more racial issues. However, racial composition did not affect
verdicts.
Some groups and group processes offer an illusion of ef¬cacy; people
think they are more effective than they are. This is true of small groups, which
many people erroneously think are better at solving social dilemmas than are
larger groups.
Another factor in group effectiveness is group cohesiveness. When
a task does not require much interaction among members, task-based
cohesiveness”cohesiveness based on respect for each otherʼs abilities”
increases group productivity, but interpersonal cohesiveness”cohesiveness
based on liking for each other”does not. Sometimes, interpersonal
cohesiveness can impede the decision-making abilities of the group, because
people are afraid of hurting each otherʼs feelings.
Social Psychology
314

14. What is group polarization?
Group decision making often results in group polarization”that is, the initial
decision tendency of the group becomes more extreme following group
discussion. It seems that the group discussion pulls the membersʼ attitudes
toward more extreme positions as a result of both social comparison and
persuasive arguments.
15. What is groupthink?
Groups often make bad decisions when they become more concerned with
keeping up their membersʼ morale than with reaching a realistic decision.
This lack of critical thinking can lead to groupthink, a breakdown in the
rational decision-making abilities of members of a cohesive group. The group
becomes driven by consensus seeking; members do not want to rock the boat.
Groupthink is favored by group cohesiveness, stress, and the persuasive
strength of the leader. It is also more likely to occur when a group is insulated
and homogeneous and has a leader who promotes a particular point of view.
Several measures can be taken to prevent groupthink, including encouraging
a critical attitude among members, discussing group solutions with people
outside the group, and bringing in outside experts who donʼt agree with the
groupʼs solution.
Another approach suggests that group polarization, risk taking, and the
possibility of a disastrous decision being reached all increase when a decision
is framed in terms of potential failure. If all outcomes are seen as potentially
negative, according to this view, group members will tend to favor the riskier
ones over the more cautious ones. Finally, groupthink has been found to occur
more often when the group process doesnʼt allow everyone to speak freely
and fully and when group leaders become obsessed with maintaining morale.
Interpersonal
Attraction and
Close Relationships
Intimate relationships cannot substitute for a life
plan. But to have any meaning or viability at all,
a life plan must include intimate relationships.
”Harriet Lerner




Both had been born in California and had lived in the San Francisco Bay Key Questions
area. Both eventually left the United States to live in Paris. The ¬rst visit As you read this chapter,
between these two people, who would be lifelong friends and lovers, did ¬nd the answers to the
not begin well. They had become acquainted the previous night at a Paris following questions:
restaurant and had arranged an appointment for the next afternoon at
1. What is a close relationship?
Gertrude™s apartment. Perhaps anxious about the meeting, Gertrude was in
2. What are the roots of
a rage when her guest arrived a half hour later than the appointed time. But
interpersonal attraction and
soon she recovered her good humor, and the two went walking in the streets
close relationships?
of Paris. They found that each loved walking, and they would share their
3. What are loneliness and
thoughts and feelings on these strolls for the rest of their lives together.
social anxiety?
On that ¬rst afternoon, they stopped for ices and cakes in a little shop
4. What are the components and
that Gertrude knew well because it reminded her of San Francisco. The
dynamics of love?
day went so well that Gertrude suggested dinner at her apartment the
following evening. Thus began a relationship that would last for nearly 5. How does attachment relate to
interpersonal relationships?
40 years.
The one was small and dark, the other large”over two hundred 6. How does interpersonal
pounds”with short hair and a striking Roman face. Neither was physically attraction develop?
attractive. Each loved art and literature and opera, for which they were in 7. What does evolutionary
the right place. The Paris in which they met in the 1920s was the home to theory have to say about mate
great painters (Picasso and Matisse) and enormously talented writers (Ernest selection?
Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald). Gertrude knew them all. They began to live 8. How can one attract a mate?
together in Gertrude™s apartment, for she was the one who had a steady 9. How do close relationships
supply of money. Gertrude, who had dropped out of medical school in her form and evolve?
¬nal year, had decided to write novels. Soon, they grew closer, their walks
10. How are relationships
longer, and their talks more intimate. They traveled to Italy, and it was evaluated?
there, outside Florence, that Gertrude proposed marriage. Both knew the


315
Social Psychology
316


answer to the proposal, and they spent the night in a 6th-century palace. They
11. What is a communal shared each other™s lives fully, enduring two wars together. In 1946, Gertrude,
relationship? then 70, displayed the ¬rst signs of the tumor that would soon kill her. Gertrude
handled this crisis in character, forcefully refusing any medical treatment. Not
12. How do relationships
change over time? even her lifelong companion could convince her to do otherwise. When Gertrude
eventually collapsed, she was rushed to a hospital in Paris. In her hospital room
13. What are the strategies
before the surgery, Gertrude grasped her companion™s small hand and asked,
couples use in response
to con¬‚ict in a “What is the answer?” Tears streamed down Alice Toklas™s face, “I don™t know,
relationship? Lovey.” The hospital attendants put Gertrude Stein on a cot and rolled her toward
the operating room. Alice murmured words of affection. Gertrude commanded
14. What are the four
horsemen of the the attendants to stop, and she turned to Alice and said, “If you don™t know
apocalypse?
the answer, then what is the question?” Gertrude settled back on the cot and
15. What is the nature of chuckled softly. It was the last time they saw each other (Burnett, 1972; Simon,
friendships? l977; Toklas, 1963).
We have brie¬‚y recounted what was perhaps the most famous literary
friendship of the last century, the relationship between Gertrude Stein and
Alice B.Toklas. Stein and Toklas were not of¬cially married. They did not ¬‚aunt
their sexual relationship, for the times in which they lived were not particularly
accommodating to what Stein called their “singular” preferences. Yet their
partnership involved all the essential elements of a close relationship: intimacy,
friendship, love, and sharing. Philosophers have commented that a friend
multiplies one™s joys and divides one™s sorrows. This, too, was characteristic of
their relationship.
In this chapter, we explore the nature of close relationships. The empirical
study of close relationships is relatively new. Indeed, when one well-known
researcher received a grant some years ago from a prestigious government
funding agency to study love in a scienti¬c manner, a gad¬‚y senator held the
researcher and the topic up to ridicule, suggesting that we know all we need to
know about the topic.
Perhaps so, but in this chapter we ask a number of questions that most of
us, at least, do not have the answers for. What draws two people together into
a close relationship, whether a friendship or a more intimate love relationship?
What in¬‚uences attractiveness and attraction? How do close relationships develop
and evolve, and how do they stand up to con¬‚ict and destructive impulses? What
are the components of love relationships? And ¬nally, what are friendships, and
how do they differ from love? These are some of the questions addressed in this
chapter.
Chapter 9 Interpersonal Attraction and Close Relationships 317


The Roots of Interpersonal Attraction and Close
Relationships
It is a basic human characteristic to be attracted to others, to desire to build close rela-
tionships with friends and lovers. In this section, we explore two needs that underlie
attraction and relationships: af¬liation and intimacy. Not everyone has the social skills
or resources necessary to initiate and maintain close relationships. Therefore, we also
look at the emotions of social anxiety and loneliness.

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