Do you perform better when people are around or when you are alone? When we have tasks, which we find relatively easy, we find the presence of other people a positive motivation causing us to perform even better. However, when the tasks are difficult, we find the audience intimidating and we are more likely to put in a worse performance. This is because the presence of others increases emotional arousal causing our bodies become more energized, and secondly because when we are aroused it is more difficult to perform new or difficult tasks. We tend to perform the most dominant response in these situations, our most likely behavior in that setting. While in the presence of others, we anticipate a level of evaluation; this is the idea of evaluation apprehension. Depending on how we predict that evaluation, we may expect to either be praised or criticized. .
To understand this concept, imagine professional sports athletes. Take the New York Yankees and Florida Marlins for example. They are lifted by the stadium's enthusiasm and support to give their best ever performances in regular season games and are depending on them even more so now at the World Series to help boost their performances. In contrast, lower level, less confident players can find the crowds unsettling and consequently cause them to make mistakes on the field that a major league player wouldn't have necessarily made in the presence of a crowd. .
Ways in which one could take advantage of positive social facilitation effects and reduce negative social facilitation effects would be to gain more experience in that specific field. Taking time to practice and perfect whatever task it is will give one confidence and things such as evaluation apprehension will less likely affect them. .
Contributions made by a number of people in an effort to accomplish a task or goal is collectively known as additive tasks. This contributes to the phenomenon known as social loafing, which is the tendency for people to exert less effort on an additive task as the size of the group increases.