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A test of theories of social facilitation using a musical task

Abrams, Dominic and Manstead, Antony Stephen Reid 1981. A test of theories of social facilitation using a musical task. British Journal of Social Psychology 20 (4) , pp. 271-278. 10.1111/j.2044-8309.1981.tb00497.x

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A study is reported which examined the effects of the presence of others, recording equipment, and a mirror on performance of a musical task. These three performance conditions were designed to test predictions derived from the mere presence, evaluation apprehension, and objective self-awareness accounts of social facilitation phenomena. The relationship between task performance and individual differences in test anxiety was also assessed. Eighty subjects were each assigned to one of 16 conditions in a 2 (male vs. female) × 2 (well-practised vs. poorly practised) × 4 (others present, evaluation, mirror, alone) design. Results showed that task performance, as measured by melodic errors, did not conform to any of the theoretical predictions. The findings are discussed in the context of other social facilitation research, and an attentional model of social facilitation phenomena is advanced as a possible explanation for failures to obtain effects predicted by drive-based theories.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Publisher: British Psychological Society
ISSN: 0144-6665
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:47

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