Understanding Human Performance and Social Presence: An Analysis of Vigilance and Social Facilitation
Social facilitation is primarily characterized by improved performance on simple, or well-known, tasks and impaired performance on complex, or unfamiliar, tasks. Previous research has demonstrated that the use of social presence may improve performance on cognitive tasks that are relevant to many organizational contexts, such as vigilance. However, to date, there has not been consolidation of the research regarding the different implementations of social facilitation, or any analysis indicating which types of social presence are best under varying conditions. The present dissertation describes three experiments that each work towards providing a taxonomic framework for the factors that influence performance on tasks under social observation. The first experiment sought to a statistically establish a difference in task difficulty between two versions of a cognitive vigilance task by utilizing increasing increments of event rate. The purpose of experiment two was to examine two non-traditional forms of social presence and their effects on vigilance. These forms of social presence included co-acting (in which two people independently complete the same task) and electronic performance monitoring (EPM, in which technology is used as the social presence). Finally, experiment three sought to replicate and extend the results of experiments one and two in order to construct the foundation for a taxonomic framework of social facilitation by examining the interaction between task difficulty and type of social presence.
Location:PSY 301Q: 301Q