Social facilitation is a phenomenon that has been studied for over a century. It refers to the tendency for people to perform better on simple or well-learned tasks in the presence of others. Social facilitation is an important concept in social psychology because it helps us understand how others can influence our behavior.

What Is Social Facilitation Theory?

Social facilitation theory states that the presence of others can improve or impair performance on a task. This theory was first introduced by Norman Triplett in 1898, who found that cyclists performed better when they raced against each other, rather than racing alone against the clock.

How Does Social Facilitation Work?

The social facilitation effect occurs because the presence of others increases arousal levels. This arousal can be either positive or negative, depending on the situation.

For example, if you’re playing a sport and there’s a large crowd cheering you on, this positive arousal can help you perform better. However, if you’re giving a presentation and you’re nervous about speaking in front of a large audience, this negative arousal can impair your performance.

The Two Types of Social Facilitation

There are two types of social facilitation:

The Yerkes-Dodson Law

The Yerkes-Dodson law is another important concept within social facilitation theory. It states that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal but only up to a point. After this point, further increases in arousal lead to decreased performance.

Real-Life Examples

There are many real-life examples of social facilitation. Here are a few:


In conclusion, social facilitation is an important concept within social psychology. It helps us understand how the presence of others can influence our behavior and performance on tasks. By understanding the mechanisms behind social facilitation, we can use this knowledge to improve our own performance in various settings.