Groups, Relationships, and Helping others

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In this guide we will quickly cover the major topics of groups, relationships, and helping.


Group: A set of individuals who interact over time and have shared fate, goals, or identity.

Required to be a group:

Collective: An assembly of people engaging in a common activity, but having little direct interaction with one another.

Dyad: A two person group.

Social Facilitation: A process whereby the presence of others enhances performance on easy tasks, but impairs performance on difficult tasks.

Triplett finds from his study with children that they are more motivated to perform a simple motor task faster with other around. The evidence for this effect was mixed.

Zajonc proposed an explanation to make sense of the results. His analyses showed that the presence of others creates arousal, and arousal increases tendencies to perform the dominant response.

Evaluation Apprehension Theory: A theory that the presence of others will produce social facilitation effects only when those other are seen as potential evaluators.

Distraction-Conflict Theory: A theory that the presence of others will produce social facilitation effects only when those other distract from the task and create attentional conflict.

Social Loafing: A group-produced reduction in individual output on tasks where contributions are pooled.

Ringelmann, 1880, showed that individual output declines in pooled tasks.

Collective Effort Model: The theory that individuals will exert effort on a collective task to the degree that they think their individual effort will be important, relevant, and meaningful for achieving outcomes that they value.

More effort will also be put in if there are punishments present, the group is small, or the group is very cohesive (like a family).

Deindividuation:The loss of a person’s sense of individuality and the reduction of normal constraints against deviant behavior.

Group Polarization: The exaggeration of initial tendencies in the thinking of group members through group discussion.

Groupthink: A group decision-making style characterized by an excessive tendency among group members to seek concurrence.

Escalation Effect The condition in which commitments to a failing course of action are increased to justify investments already made.

Prisoner’s Dilemma: A type of dilemma in which one party must make either cooperative or competitive moves in relation to another party. The dilemma is typically designed so that the competitive move appears to be in one’s self-interest, but if both sides make this move, they both suffer more than if they had both cooperated.


Need for Affiliation: The desire to establish and maintain many rewarding interpersonal relationships.

Loneliness: A feeling of deprivation about existing social relations.

Mere Exposure Effect: The phenomenon whereby the more often people are exposed to a stimulus, the more positively they evaluate that stimulus.

Proximity Effect: Physical closeness of one another will stimulate.

Matching Hypothesis: The proposition that people are attracted to others who are similar in physical attractiveness.

Reciprocity: A mutual exchange between what we give and receive– for example, liking those who like us.

Hard-to-get Effect: The tendency to prefer people who are highly selective in their social choices over those who are more readily available.

Intimate Relationship: A close relationship between two adults involving emotional attachment, fulfillment of psychological needs, or interdependence.

Equity Theory: The theory that people are most satisfied with a relationship when the ratio between benefits and contributions is similar for both partners.

Exchange Relationships: A relationship in which the participants expect and desire mutual responsibility to each other’s needs.

Communal Relationship: A relationship in which the participants expect and desire mutual responsiveness to each other’s needs.

Attachment Style: The way a person typically interacts with significant others.

The three attachment styles are:

The Triangular Theory of Love: A theory proposing that love has three basic components: intimacy, passion, and commitment. That can be combined to produce eight subtypes.

Passionate Love: Romantic love characterized by high arousal, intense attraction, and fear of rejection.

Companionate Love: A secure, trusting, and stable partnership.

Excitation Transfer: The process whereby arousal caused by one stimulus is added to arousal from a second stimulus and the combined arousal is attributed to the second stimulus.

Self-Disclosure: Revelations about the self that a person makes to others.


Prosocial Behavior: Actions intended to benefit others

Kin Selection: Preferential helping of genetic relatives, which results in the greater likelihood that genes held in common will survive.

Empathy: Understanding or vicariously experiencing another individual’s perspective and feeling sympathy and compassion for that individual.

Arousal: Cost-Reward Model: The prosposition that people react to emergency situations by acting in the most cost-effective way to reduce the arousal of shock and alarm.

Negative State relief model: The proposition that people help others in order to counteract their own feelings of sadness.

Egoistic: Motivated by the desire to increase one’s own welfare.

Altruistic: Motivated by the desire to improve another’s welfare.

Empathy-Altruism Model: The proposition that empathic concern for a person in need produces an altruistic motive for helping.

Bystander Effect: The effect whereby the presence of others inhibits helping

Pluralistic Ignorance: The state in which people in a group mistakenly think that their own individual thoughts, feelings, or behaviors are different from those of the others in the group.

Diffusion of Responsibility: The belief that others will or should take the responsibility for providing assistance to a person in need.

Audience Inhibition: Reluctance to help for fear of making a bad impression on Observers

Helping: Location and Culture


People are more likely to help someone when they’re in a good mood.

However, people in a bad mood aren’t always less likely to help someone.

Attractiveness and Helping

Attractive people have a higher chance of being helped than unattractive people

Groups, Relationships, and Helping others - zac blanco