Social facilitation and observational learning of individuals and cooperative pairs

Patrick R. Laughlin, James J. Jaccard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In a study with 270 female undergraduates, individuals and cooperative pairs were observed by an audience of 0, 1, or 2 persons as they solved 3 successive concept attainment problems. The observers subsequently solved 3 problems as individuals or cooperative pairs in an incidental learning paradigm. An audience of either 1 or 2 persons hindered the performance of individuals relative to unobserved controls, but had no effect upon the performance of the cooperative pairs. Subsequently, the observers of individuals performed worse than controls who had not observed anybody, but the observers of pairs performed better than controls who had not observed anybody. Thus, there was a "vicious circle" effect for the observers of individuals, but a beneficial effect for the observers of interacting groups, indicating that the audience may not only have different effects upon the performance of individuals and interacting groups, but may subsequently perform differently itself. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)873-879
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1975



  • cooperative pairs, female college students
  • social facilitation, observational learning of individuals &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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