Social Influence And Group Processes Class 12 Ch.7 Notes, QnA 2023

Social Influence And Group Processes

Nature and Formation of Groups

Group: An organized system of two or more individuals who are interacting and are interdependent, who have common motives, have set role relationships amongst the members and have norms that regulate the behavior of members

Salient Features:

● Collection of people with common goals and motives.

● Two or more people: perceive themselves as belonging to the group-each group is unique.

● Members are interdependent. Members interact with each other directly or indirectly.

● Members satisfy their needs through joint association and influence each other.

● Set of norms and roles-specific functions for each member, adhere to norms on how one must behave, expected behavior, etc.

Advantages: We are simultaneously members of different groups; different groups satisfy different needs but could create pressures due to competing demands and expectations.

(a) Security: Groups reduce insecurity

  • Being with people’s sense of comfort/protection.
  • People feel stronger-less vulnerable to threats.

(b) Status: Recognised group gives feeling of power and importance.

(c) Self-esteem: Feeling of self-worth and positive social identity.

● Member of prestigious group enhances 

(d) Goal Achievement Group helps to attain some goals which can’t be attained alone (power in the majority).

(e) Provides Knowledge and Information: Broadens views, helps supplement information. love and power

(f) Satisfaction of Psychological and Social Needs: Like sense of belongingness giving and receiving attention,

Group Formation

Some form of contact and interaction between people is needed.

Proximity: Closeness and repeated interactions with the same people (get to know their interests, attitudes, and background).

Similarity: People prefer consistency consistent relationship (reinforces and validates opinions and values feel we’re right)

Common Motives and Goals: Groups facilitate goal attainment.

Stage of group development

Forming: Members’ first meet there is uncertainty about group and goal and how it will be achieved. They try to get to know one another-there is excitement and apprehension.

Storming: Intra-group conflict-about how the goal is to be achieved, who will be the leader and who will perform what task (hierarchy of leadership and how to achieve the goal is developed).

Norming: Develop norms related to group behavior (development of a positive group identity).

Performing: Structure of the group has evolved and is accepted (towards goal achievement); as this is the last

Adjourning: Once the function is over the group may be disbanded


• Groups do not always proceed in a systematic manner.

• Stages could even take place simultaneously.

• Groups can go back and forth between stages or skip a few stages.

Group Structure:

• Over time, there are regularities in distribution of tasks, responsibilities assigned to members and status of members


1. Roles: Socially defined expectations that individuals in given situations are expected to fulfill, ie, typical behavior that depicts a person in a given social context.

Role Expectations: Behavior expected of someone in a particular role.

2. Norms (unspoken rules): Expected standards of behavior and beliefs established, agreed upon and enforced by group members.

3. Status: Relative social position given to group members by others.

● Ascribed (given due to one’s seniority) or achieved (because of expertise or hard work).

● Members of a group-enjoy status and want to be members of prestigious groups.

● Within groups, different members have different prestige and status.

4. Cohesiveness: Togetherness, binding or mutual attraction among members.

● More Cohesiveness: Members start thinking, feeling and acting as a social unit (no isolated individuals); there is an increased desire to remain in group (we feel a sense of belongingness).

● Extreme cohesiveness leads to group thinking and is negative.

Types of Groups

Primary Group:

Pre-existing formations that are usually given to a person. People usually remain a part of it throughout their lifetime. Includes face-to-face interaction and close physical proximity. Members share warm, emotional bonds.

Central to a person’s functioning; major role in developing values and ideals. Boundaries are less permeable- can’t choose membership, join or leave easily. Example: family, religion, caste.

Secondary Group:

Groups which individuals join by choice: Relationships among members are more impersonal, indirect and

less frequent. These may or may not be short-lived. It is easy to leave and join another group. Example: Political party.

Formal Group: Functions, based to be performed, are explicitly stated. Formation based on specific rules or laws and members have defined roles. Set of norms helps establish order. Example: office, university.

Informal Group: Roles of each member not so definite and specified. Close relationships among members exist. Formation not based on rules and laws. Example: peer group.

Ingroup: One’s own group we’ (eg, India). Members in the group similar, viewed favorably, have desired traits

Out group: Another group they’ (e.g., Pakistan). Members of out-group-viewed differently, negatively in comparison to in group.

Influence of Group on Individual Behaviour

Social Loafing

This is the reduction in individual effort when working on a collective task.

  • Individuals performing an activity with the others as part of a larger group.
  • Individuals work less hard in a group than alone.
  • Don’t know much about the effort each one is putting in.
  • Presence of others leads to arousal; motivates individuals to enhance their performance (only when a person’s efforts are individually evaluated).

Causes of Social Loafing:

  • Members feel less responsible for the overall task and thus, exert less effort.
  • Performance of the group isn’t compared with other groups.
  • Motivation decreases as contributions are not individually evaluated.
  • No/improper coordination between members.
  • Belonging to the same group is not important for members (it is only an aggregate of individuals).

Can be reduced by:

  • Making the effort of each person identifiable.
  • Increasing pressure to work hard-make members committed, motivated.
  • Increase apparent importance and value of task.
  • Make them feel their individual contribution is important.
  • Strengthen group cohesiveness-increase motivation for successful group outcome.

Group Polarisation

● Groups are likely to take more extreme decisions than individuals would take alone.

● Strengthening of a group’s initial position because of group interaction.

● Dangerous repercussions groups may take extreme positions (very weak to very strong decisions).

Causes of Group Polarisation:

● In the company of like-minded people, you’re likely to hear newer arguments favoring your view-points.

● Bandwagon effect-when you find others sharing your view-point, you feel your view is validated by the public.

● When people have similar views as you, you’re likely to perceive them as in-group (start identifying with them, show conformity-views become strengthened).

NCERT Class 12 Psychology Textbook Chapter 7 Question Answers 

Q.1. Compare and contrast formal and informal groups and ingroups and outgroups

Social Influence And Group Processes

Q.2. Are you a member of a certain group? Discuss what motivated you to join that group

Ans. Man is a social animal. We live in society so that our necessities may be fulfilled. Different groups satisfy different needs. So we become members of various groups or associations. I have also joined various groups because these groups satisfy a range of needs. The reasons for joining various groups are as mentioned below

(i) Security Groups provide security. As a member we get protection and feel stronger and, a less vulnerable to threats.

(ii) Status: As a member of a group e.g., Lion Club, we feel recognised and experience a sense of power. The membership enhances our status in the society as we feel recognised.

(iii) Self esteem: Groups provide feelings of self-worth and establish a positive social identity. Being a member of prestigious groups enhances one’s self-concept.

(iv) Satisfaction of one’s psychological and social needs Groups satisfy one’s social ar psychological needs such as sense of belongingness, giving and receiving attention, through a group.

(v) Goal achievement: Groups help in achieving goals which cannot be attained individually.

(vi) Provide knowledge and information: Group membership provides knowledge and information and thus broadens our view. Groups supplement information and knowledge.

Q.3. How does Tuckman’s stage model help you to understand the formation of groups?

Ans. Tuckman suggested that groups pass through five developmental stages i.e.. forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning as explained below:

(i) Forming stage: In this stage people meet and discuss the goal, and the method to achieve it. They try to know each other. There is excitement as well as apprehensions.

(ii) Storming stage: In this stage there is conflict among the members about how the target is to be achieved and about distribution of various duties. The aim is to set up a hierarchy in order to achieve the goal.

(iii) Norming: In this stage group members develop norms related to group behaviour. This leads to development of a positive group identity.

(iv) Performing: At this stage the structure of the group has evolved and is accepted by the group members. The group moves forward to achieve its goal. For some this may be the last stage of group development.

(v) Adjourning: In some cases as in the case of an organising committee for a school function the last stage may be the adjourning stage i.e., once the function is over, the group may be disbanded.

Q.4.How do groups influence our behaviour ?

Ans. Groups influence our behaviour in following three ways i.e., social facilitation, social loafing and polarisation.

(i) Social Facilitation: 

(a) Social facilitation is the tendency for people to do better on simple tasks when in the presence of other people.

(b) This implies that, whenever people are being watched by others, they will do well on things that they are already good at being.

(c) Norman Triplett observed that individuals show better performance in the presence of others. For example cyclists racing with each other perform better than they cycle alone.

(d) Better performance is because the person experiences arousal.

(e) The arousal is because person feels he is being evaluated.

(f) The nature of the task to be performed also affects the performance in the presence of others.

(g) A situation of co-action also influences the performance. It is due to the fact that there is social comparison and competition. Again if the task is simple or familiar, the performance is better under co-action.

(ii) Social Loafing: 

(a) Under this phenomenon, individuals work less hard in a group than they do when performing alone.

(b) It is a reduction in individual effort when working on a collective task i.e.. on which outputs are pooled with those of other group members as is in the game of tug-of-war.

(c) Each participant put in less effort as the group size increases.

(iii) Group Polarisation: 

(a) It is a group influence which refers to strengthening of group’s initial position as a result of group interaction and discussion.

(b) This may sometimes have dangerous repercussions as groups may take extreme positions i.e., from very weak to very strong decisions.

Q.5. How can you reduce social loafing in groups ? Think of any two incidents of social loafing in school. How did you overcome it?

Ans. (a) Social loafing in groups can be reduced by methods as mentioned below:

(i) Making the efforts of each person identifiable.

(ii) Increasing the pressure to work hard i.e.. making group members committed to successful task performance.

(iii) Increasing the apparent importance or value of a task.

(iv) Making people feel that their individual contribution is important.

(v) Strengthening group cohesiveness which increases the motivation for successful group outcome.

(b) In school two incidents of social loafing are organising of Sports Function and Annual Literary Function. We can overcome this problem of social loafing by giving award to the students who helped most during the functions. 

Q.6. How often do you show conformity in your behaviour ? What are the determinants of conformity ?

Ans. (a) Often people show conformity in their behaviour due to the factors as mentioned below:

(i) Individuals change their behaviour to correspond more closely to the behaviour of others because it allows both the individual and the group to function more smoothly.

(ii) Conformity makes people comfortable because otherwise they are considered ‘different’ from others.

(iii) Non-conformity is socially undesirable and many a time punishable offence.

(iv) Most people believe that the majority is more likely to be right rather than wrong.

(v) If there is a confusion, then individual think it is better to conform e.g., in a quiz show the participants opt for audience poll and they tend to choose the same option that the majority of the audience chooses.

(vi) Conformity provides assurance that individual is right.

(b) Determinants of conformity are as mentioned below:

(i) Size of the group: Conformity is greater when the group is small than when the group is large because it is easier for a deviant member who does not conform to be noticed in a small group.

(ii) Size of the minority: In a group when the dissenting or deviating minority size increases, the likelihood of conformity decreases. In fact it may increase the number of dissenters or non-conformists in the group.

(iii) Nature of the task: In a task where there is something like a correct or an incorrect answer, conformity is more. On the other hand, where answers can vary widely without any answer being correct or incorrect, conformity would be less.

(iv) Public or Private expression of behaviour: In the Asch technique less conformity is found under private expression (secret ballot) than it is seen under public expression where people give answers publicly.

(v) Personality: 

(1) Individuals with conforming personality change their behaviour according to other’s behaviour. 

(2) Highly intelligent people who are confident and committed are less likely to conform.

Q.7. Why do people obey even when they know that their behaviour may be harming others? Explain. [CBSE 2014]

Ans. Psychologists have identified several reasons as mentioned below:

(i) People obey because they feel that they are not responsible for their own actions, they are simply carrying out orders from the authority.

(ii) Authority generally possesses symbols of status which people find difficult to resist.

(iii) Authority gradually increases commands from lesser to greater levels and initial obedience hinds the followers for commitment. Once you obey small orders, slowly there is an escalation of commitment for the person who is in authority and one starts obeying bigger orders.

(iv) Many times, events are moving at such a fast speed for example in a riot situation that one, has no time to think, just obey orders from above.

Q.8. What are the benefits of cooperation ?

Ans. (a) When groups work together to achieve shared goals it is referred to as cooperation.

(b) The benefits of cooperation are as mentioned below

(i) All the members attain the goal as collective performance as in the relay race.

(ii) In cooperation, there is acceptance for each other’s ideas.

(iii) Members are more friendly than those in the competitive groups.

(iv) The main concern of the members is to see that the group excels.

(v) The goal achievement becomes easy.

(vi) Interpersonal relations get strengthened.

(vii) Group members remain ready to work for others.

Q.9. How is one’s identity formed ?

Ans. (i) Identity formation is the development of the distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity in a particular stage of life in which individual characteristics are possessed and by which a person is recognised or known.

(ii) This process defines individuals to others and themselves.

(iii) Pieces of the person’s actual identify include a sense of continuity, a sense of uniqueness from others, and a sense of affiliation.

(iv) According to Erikson the identity formation takes place during adolescence.

(v) Identity is important for us. It tells us our place in the society. It provides a member of a group with shared set of values, beliefs and goals about the social world. 

It helps us to coordinate attitude and behaviour. The development of identity leads to the devaluation of the outgroup.

Q.10. What are some of the causes of intergroup conflict? Think of any international conflict. Reflect on the human price of this conflict.

Ans. (a) The causes of intergroup conflicts are as mentioned below:

(i) Major reason is lack of communication and faulty communication by both parties. This leads to suspicion and lack of trust.

(ii) Another reason is deprivation i.e., when members of group perceive that they do not have what they desire to have, which other group has.

(iii) Another cause is when one party believes that it is better than other and what it is saying should be done.

(iv) When one group feels that the other group does not respect the norms of his group.

(v) Desire for retaliation for some harm done in the past could be a reason too.

(vi) Biased perceptions are also cause of conflicts.

(vii) Groups compete over scarce resources e.g., territory, money and social resources, e.g., respect.

(viii) Perceived inequity is also a cause of conflict. According to Gardner Murphy most conflicts begin in the minds of men and then go to the field.

(b) The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indo-China War and also known in Vietnam as Resistance War against America or simply the American War was an international conflict. Its period was from 1 November, 1955 to 30 April, 1975. 

It resulted in the victory of North Vietnam, American forces from Indo-China were withdrawn. North and South Vietnam were reunited. Vietnam was declared the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

A large human price for this conflict was paid as mentioned below:

(1) South Vietnam

  • 1.95,000-4,30,000 civilian died
  • 2,20,357-3,13,000 military men died
  • 1.70,000 wounded.

(2) North Vietnam

  • 65,000 civilian died
  • 4.44.000 military men died or missing
  • 6,00,000 wounded.

(3) United States-

  • 58,307 died
  • 3,03,644 wounded.

A large number of casualities were suffered by some other states.

Total number of dead were 4,55,476.

Final Words:

From the above article you have learnt about class 12 psychology notes and question answers of chapter 7 social influence and group processes for your exam. All the best.

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