Physiological arousal and social cohesion

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Year of publication 2012
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description I experimentally test the arousal-cohesion link in the laboratory to help establish causation. I operationalize arousal as an increase in heart rate. I operationalize cohesion as a perceived entitativity ["The degree to which a collective of people (aggregate of persons/individuals) are perceived as a group." (Campbell, 1958)]. In the experiment a minimal group of three is created in an artificial laboratory environment. Individual participants do not know each other prior to the study. The group performs a simple joint task of completing a jigsaw puzzle and is being recorded/videotaped while doing so. To avoid social loafing all participants get equal number of puzzle pieces that need to be properly placed to complete the task. Once the task is finished individuals are separated and the independent variable - autonomic arousal - manipulated. One participant is presented with high arousal stimuli, one with stimuli lowering arousal and the last one as a control performs a simple cognitive task. Still separated participants are confronted with their video recording to be reminded of the group activity and then asked to rate the entitativity of the group.
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