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ZAJONC'S AROUSAL AND CONFLUENCE THEORIES. The Polish-bom social psychologist Robert B. Zajonc (1923- ) proposed the following generalization concerning social facilitation (i.e., the tendency to perform a task better in the presence of others than when alone) and social interference (i.e., a decline in performance when observers are present): the presence of others facilitates performance of dominant (i.e., simple, habitual, or instinctive) responses and interferes with performance of nondominant (i.e., complex, nonhabitual, or unnatural) responses (cf., audience effect or spectator effect - the influence of passive onlookers/spectators on a person's task performance; next-in-line effect -refers to a decrement in recall for an event immediately preceding an anticipated public performance; and coaction effect - is the influence on a person's task performance of the presence of other people engaging in the same activity). In the drive theory of social facilitation, Zajonc explains both facilitation and interference effects by linking them to the more general phenomenon of the effect of high arousal (drive) on performance. That is, high arousal typically improves performance of simple or well-learned tasks and worsens performance of complex or poorly-learned tasks (cf., Yerkes & Dodson, 1908). According to Zajonc's theory, the main effect of the presence of others is to increase arousal after which easy responses are easier, and difficult responses become more difficult (cf., com-presence effect - is an arousal effect generated by other people being present where, depending on conditions, performance is influenced either positively or negatively). Studies of the influence of others' presence and the effects of being observed on one's performance go back to the late 1800s (cf., Triplett, 1898) and the early 1900s (cf., Allport, 1920), and report social facilitation in some experiments but social interference in other studies. Zajonc's theory is able to explain both types of outcome, suggesting that the mere presence of others who are members of one's own species may enhance arousal innately. Socialfacilita-tion has been observed in athletes, children, chickens, and even cockroaches (that learn a maze faster if watched by other roaches). Other theorists, however, explain such arousal in somewhat different terms; for instance, in terms such as evaluation anxiety (cf., Geen, 1991), self-perception of one's skill at the task (cf., Sanna, 1992), and self-consciousness (cf., Baumeister & Showers, 1986). Zajonc's explanation for social facilitation is based in the context of a broader theory of emotion, in which a person may have an emotional reaction to a stimulus without any corresponding cognitive reaction; this theoretical approach differs from the two-factor theory of emotion that posits a two-step self-perception process where one first experiences physiological arousal and seeks an explanation for it, and then it is the labeling of the arousal that is experienced as the emotion. Zajonc has theorized, also concerning the influence of environmental factors on human intelligence, in particular the relationship between birth order and intelligence (cf., birth order effect - conjecture that first-born children, and only-children, tend to be high achievers; also, the larger the family size, the lower the average IQ of the children). In attempting to answer the finding of several studies that first-borns tend to have higher IQs than second-borns, who tend to have higher IQs than third-borns, and so on, Zajonc's confluence theory suggests that each individual's intellectual growth depends to an important degree on the intellectual environment in which the child develops. Zajonc's confluence theory and his interpretation of the correlation between birth order and intelligence, however, are not universally accepted, and have been the source of heated debate. See also ACTIVATION/ AROUSAL THEORY; COGNITIVE THEORIES OF EMOTIONS; MERE EXPOSURE EFFECT; SCHACHTER-SINGER'S THEORY OF EMOTIONS; YERKES-DODSON LAW.

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