Psychological Bulletin, vol. 94, issue 2 (1983) pp. 265-292
This article reports a meta-analysis of the effects of the presence of others on human task performance and physiology. In 241 studies involving nearly 24jOOO subjectSj the presence of others had small effects, accounting for .3% to 3% of the variance in the typical experiment. We conclude that (a) the presence of others heightens an individual's physiological arousal only if the individual is performing a complex task; (b) the presence of others increases the speed of simple task performance and decreases the speed of complex task performance; (c) the pres- ence of others impairs complex performance accuracy and slightly facilitates simple performance accuracy, though the facilitation is vulnerable to the "file drawer problem" of unreported null results; and (d) social facilitation effects are surprisingly unrelated to the performer's evaluation apprehension. These meta- analytic conclusions are contrasted with conclusions reached by narrative liter- ature reviews. Implications for theories of social facilitation are discussed.
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