The status of arousal in recent social facilitation literature: A review and evaluation of assumptions implied by the current research model

T. J. Kushnir1
1Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Cite this article:  Kushnir, T. J. (1981). The status of arousal in recent social facilitation literature: A review and evaluation of assumptions implied by the current research model. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 9(2), 185-190.

Volume 9 Issue 2 | e334 | Published: August 1981 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1981.9.2.185

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Zajonc has suggested that the presence of others is innately arousing, and that general arousal controls performance. The following review evaluates this hypothesis in the light of empirical evidence from current social facilitation research. It appears that in most studies arousal level is not related to audience presence or to the quality of performance. It is suggested that these mainly negative results are probably due to the simplistic and inadequate nature of the current social facilitation research model. It restricts itself to the study of only one mediational process and views the subject as a passive receiver of information. This model emphasizes the intensity of behavior but neglects the directional aspect. Cognitive, strategic aspects of behavior are largely neglected. It is suggested that the model should consider at least two operationally distinct mediational processes. The first can be defined in terms of the effort invested voluntarily in task performance and controlled by strategic plans and intentions. The second can be defined in terms of arousal and reflects what happens to the subject unintentionally.
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