What is the Robert Zajonc theory? (Social Facilitation)

Robert Zajonc

Robert Zajonc most important contribution to social psychology was the mere exposure effect. He was born in Poland on November 23, 1923. He was the only child of his family. His parents were killed in 1939. He completed his education at an underground University in Warsaw.

He moved to England in 1944. He immigrated to the United States after the end of World War II.

He also achieved a Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan. He was a professor at the university. He held the position of Director of Research Center of Group Dynamics in 1980.

He was director of the Institute for Social Research in the 1990s. He also became Professor Emeritus of Psychology at University. He married Donna Benson, and his marriage was not successful. There were three sons with Donna. He also spent the rest of his life with his second wife Hazel Rose Makrus. She was a social psychologist at Stanford, which is known for his contribution to Cultural psychology. Zajonc had one daughter with Markus. He had one daughter.

Another contribution of his work was through demonstrating social facilitation. Social facilitation may be the improvement of performance around the presence of others. He provided support for social facilitation through a variety of experiments.

What is the Zajonc theory? The Zajonc theory is the stern Activation theory that Zajonc developed in 1965. This hypothesis was the first theory that addressed both the increase and decrease in the performance of people in the presence of others.

Zajonc Theory of Emotion

Many Psychologists use these the word emotion and mood to refer to two different things. An emotion is a state which describes our feelings. The word mood is used interchangeably for emotion. The emotion can indicate the subjective and affective state, which is relatively intense. Emotions are thought to consciously experienced and intentional; on the other hand, mood states may not be recognized and do not carry the intentionality that is associated with emotion.

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Robert Zajonc asserted that many emotions can occur separately from or prior to our cognitive interpretation of them. He believed that people can experience an instantaneous and unexplainable dislike or like for something. Robert Zajonc formulated this theory in 1965. He explained contradictory findings on audience effects and coaction effects. According to theory, an individual can perform the task and effect of an audience. It can increase the individual arousal level, which can increase the emission of dominant responses. When there is a difficult or inadequately learned task, then there will be wrong responses that are likely to predominate and effect can be very important performance. You can see the evaluation of apprehension and social facilitation.

Social Facilitation

The Social facilitation theory helps to understand the reasons for motivation for some tasks. It would be best if you learned more about social facilitation and how it can work for you in different situations.

The idea of Social Facilitation Theory can understand the tendency of people to perform better.

When people are watched when they are doing the same task. This is called Social Facilitation. Social facilitation is the main idea of performing a better and simple task. When your boss asks you to perform any task like cleaning up a common work area. According to the social facilitation theory, there is a need for some extra steps to put everything in place to make any area tidy. If you’re working, then consider people are watching you.

However, if you are doing any task after a few hours, then everyone should go home for the day. So you might not be as attentive to all the details. It can make your task more difficult to see the other side of the social facilitation theory. If you were asked to do a difficult task, such as painting the same common area while people are periodically watching, social facilitation helps you to understand the motivation from a new perspective.

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If anyone does not perform well on certain tasks, then we can assume that he is not able to perform a good job in that task and social facilitation can help you to appreciate the motivation for doing the task. It is also influenced by how we can perceive ourselves about certain tasks.

There will be more motivated when you perform any task. The positive feedback is very important. There will be low motivation for more difficult tasks. We may have fear about the mistakes.

Social facilitation can assign tasks that you know will be observed by others. For example, you have been asked by your teacher to give a 10-minute presentation to the class on your paper topic. You may be confident when speaking in front of the group. Therefore, your motivation for this task will be high because you can perform it really easily.

Let’s take another example, a person that is very shy, it would be a good practice for him to learn to speak in front of groups. However, he will have low motivation because he can perceive this task very difficult. He can anticipate the poor performance and negative response from his classmates.

There are other examples of social facilitation in everyday life. You can see the application of social facilitation in running a race, changing a car tire, or tossing a pancake. However, it can play a role in whether you are taking driving tests or stressful tasks.

Although there are three theories for social facilitation. Robert Zajonc proposed the Activation Theory for social facilitation in 1965. He argued that the presence of others causes a level of arousal that can enable people to perform better. His “Generalized Drive Hypothesis” has supported the Yerkes-Dodson law. He found that social facilitation was also experienced by cockroaches. He can run easy mazes faster when they were with co-actors, and even when other cockroaches were watching them.

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Research has identified that social facilitation can affect food intake. When people are with family and friends, they increase the time that they spend eating a meal. The hard numbers have observed that men would eat 40% more food when they were with other people than alone.


Social facilitation is a theory that cat sets out to explain the relationship between the performances of tasks in the presence of other people while performing these tasks. Zajonc has found that people tend to perform simple, familiar tasks better.

Social facilitation can be an improvement in individual performance when working with other people rather than alone.

We can get ideas from drive theory of motivation that people are motivated to take some actions for reducing the internal tension caused by unmet needs. This is the best theory that is useful in explaining behaviors. It has a strong biological component, such as hunger or thirst.

However, social facilitation can help us to appreciate that our motivation for doing a task. It can be influenced by how good we perceive ourselves. You will see more motivation when there will be easy work, and there will be low motivation under challenging tasks.

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