Social facilitation

Contestant checks her lines at MTV VJ search audition. Social Facilitation theory states that she will perform better than when alone
Contestant checks her lines at MTV VJ search audition. Social Facilitation theory states that she will perform better than when alone. Source: Black House Media

Social facilitation is a motivation theory which asserts that people would do better in a task if there were other people watching. This idea was constructed from Norman Triplet’s work in in 1897, who noticed that people in bicycle races went faster when they were competing against each other directly than when they were racing individually. Psychologists Yerkes and Dodson in 1908 includes that there will be a larger margin of error because of nervousness if the task is not simple, hence, the arousal level in tasks demanding stamina or persistence may be beneficial while it may not be for difficult or intellectually demanding tasks because of the need to concentrate.

Social psychologists have long been interested in the effect of social facilitation in sports performance since Triplet. Literature shows that most of the findings contradict each other due to probably varying approaches, methods and variables used. Major theoretical contribution of social facilitation place emphasis on “Drive theory” which is found to have limitations when applied to complex human behaviour. In the University of Lagos Okonkwo Nwabiara’s doctoral study, social facilitation is found to have a significant effect on performance in accuracy and balancing skills irrespective of age, gender, and anxiety levels. Social facilitation also have a significant effect on skill performance but not on balancing skill, in female skill performance in balancing, subject and in the early adolescent group. Social facilitation had no significant effect on skill performance in accuracy and balancing skill of late adolescent subjects sand was not found to have any effect on performances on both.