Social facilitation can be defined as ‘an improvement in performance produced by the mere presence of others’ The social facilitation theory first came to light when Norman Triplett began to study competitive nature with children. Social facilitation is a theory that helps us understand why we are motivated to do certain tasks and less motivated for others. 


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Knowing about social facilitation it can help us understand motivation in a different way. We often interpret someone’s performance based solely on his or her abilities, but this is not the case. For example, if a person doesn’t perform well on a given task, we might just think that he or she isn’t good at it or isn’t willing to put forth the effort that is needed to do it. That may be the reason why the person is not performing well with the job. “However, social facilitation helps us to appreciate that our motivation for doing a task is also influenced by how good we perceive ourselves to be at the task and whether we are being evaluated by others. The key to using social facilitation effectively is to assign tasks that you know will be observed by others but that also match the actual skills of participants “ (Mcleod, 2011)

In the workplace, employees are often monitored in a variety of ways. “When employees know about this, social facilitation theory it increases the productivity of highly skilled workers, but decreases the productivity of relatively unskilled workers “(Aiello & Kolb, 1995) 


An example of this is implemented in the workforce is,if you were asked by your boss to perform a relatively easy task, such as filing paperwork social facilitation theory says that you would be likely to go the extra steps to put everything in the right file if there were people watching you while you were working. But, if you were doing this same task after-hours, when everyone had gone home for the day, you might not be as attentive to all the details. In this example I do believe the the negative effect according to this theory was when the workers had to do the task after work and everyone has gone home the employee may pay less attention and want to complete the task quickly and not complete the task by filing the papers incorrectly due to people not watching over them.

When connecting Social loafing to social facilitation I do believe they go hand in hand. Social loafing refers to the concept that people are prone to expect  less effort on a task if they are in a group versus when they work alone. (Gilles , 1998) The idea of working in groups is typically seen as a way to improve the accomplishment of a task by pooling the skills and talents of the individuals in that group.  This is related to social facilitation theory because working in a group people tend to work hard at completing the task and getting  the job done because people are observing.  Both theories emphasize team work and people working as a team or having people observe them to complete a task gives the team members motivation to complete the job or task to the best of their ability.




Triplett, N. (1898). The dynamogenic factors in pacemaking and competition.  The American journal of psychology , 9(4), 507-533.


Mcleod( 2011) Social Facilitation. Simple Psychology