Group Influences on behavior: Psychology

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2AB Psychology Investigation
Examining group influences on behaviour
Throughout this investigation we were able to study the influences on behaviour when working within a group, and if leadership roles are applied when working in these conditions. We aim to prove that working in groups do in fact influence on the behaviour of individuals. We determine that when working in a group and performing a task, three leadership roles may take place, aggressive, assertive and non-assertive, these roles may inflict behavioural changes or alter the opinions of individuals working within these groups. Students are randomly selected to join groups and work to complete a simple task, they then anonymously complete a questionnaire where we collect our data to provide evidence for this investigation. Group influences on behaviour may vary with individuals, particularly with decision-making skills. These changes may occur depending on the effects of two major phenomena’s, group polarization and group conformity. In simple terms, group polarisation occurs when the decisions and opinions of individuals change or become more extreme when they are in group settings. For example, when working in a group, individuals tend to build up a stronger opinion while working with others who feel strongly about the topic, which often results in a change in attitude to those individuals who felt differently about the topic. Group conformity occurs when the behaviour of an individual is changed as a result of group influence, conformity surrounds compliance and obedience. For example, when working in a group, if a majority of the group agree upon a topic, and an individual feels different about the topic, they tend to agree with the others opinion, changing their behaviour even though they still feel differently about the topic. The three main leadership styles are aggressive, assertive and non-assertive. An aggressive leadership style is quite self-explanatory, it occurs when an individual aims to get what they want without hesitation or the thought of how it may affect others around them. People often comply to social pressure, therefore with a command of authority, individuals may often feel victimised and somewhat inferior to those who use this leadership style. The assertive leadership style is a much more appropriate choice of leadership, this style allows for individuals to share their opinion appropriately and work towards what they want, which allows for them to honestly express their own opinions and feelings in a way that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. This style allows for individuals to have their say just as equally to those around them, therefore they feel somewhat confident with stating their opinions. The non-assertive style is generally used by the less confident individuals, they do not feel the need to state their opinions and are somewhat afraid of being judged by others working within the group. This can often leave other individuals feeling somewhat superior to them as fewer opinions are being stated. The aim of this investigation was to study the influences on group decision-making, leadership style and the behaviour of individuals when working in group tasks. When a class of students aged from sixteen to seventeen are assigned to participate in a group activity, the groups whom choose to use an assertive leadership style are generally more successful at completing tasks than those who use the aggressive or non-assertive leadership style. The independent variable for this study was the style of leadership assigned to each group: aggressive, assertive and non-assertive. The dependant variable of this study was the ratings on a questionnaire relating to the student perceptions of the decision making processes within their group, which the students could anonymously and confidently state how well listened to and how they felt in general while working in a group activity. A mixed-gendered class of 26 aged from sixteen...
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