Wallace: An Extension of Social Facilitation Theory to the Decision-Making Domain

Monday, July 11
4:00 pm in Brackett 419

An Extension of Social Facilitation Theory to the Decision-Making Domain

Social facilitation has traditionally been defined as the influence of the presence of others on an individual’s task performance. Social presence has been shown to either facilitate or impair performance based on various moderating variables, including the more recent investigation of individual differences, but researchers have yet to extend social facilitation theory to the domain of decision-making. This study evaluates the effect of social presence on individual decision-making, using the personality traits of extraversion, neuroticism, self-esteem, social anxiety, and trait anxiety as potential moderating variables of this effect. We found that affiliative individuals, marked by high extraversion and high self-esteem, demonstrated superior decision-making effectiveness in the social presence condition of a decision-making task. Similarly, avoidant individuals, marked by high neuroticism, high social anxiety, high trait anxiety, and low self-esteem, demonstrated superior decision-making effectiveness in the alone condition of a decision-making task. The influence of these findings on social facilitation theory and the implications for real-world application are discussed.

Committee: Fred Switzer (Chair), Robin Kowalski, Cindy Pury

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