Social Facilitation Theory is a well-known concept in the field of social psychology. It refers to the phenomenon where the presence of other people can have an impact on an individual’s performance.

The theory has been widely studied and discussed over the years, and has been attributed to several researchers. Let’s take a closer look at who developed Social Facilitation Theory.

Triplett and His Bicycle Study

One of the earliest studies related to Social Facilitation Theory was conducted by Norman Triplett, a social psychologist from Indiana University. In 1898, Triplett conducted an experiment on cyclists to examine how their performance was affected by the presence of others. He found that cyclists tended to perform better when racing against others than when racing alone.

Zajonc and His Theory

Robert Zajonc, another social psychologist, further developed Triplett’s findings in 1965 with his own theory on Social Facilitation. Zajonc believed that the presence of others increased arousal levels in individuals, which then led to an improvement in performance for simple tasks but a decline for complex tasks. This concept became known as the “mere presence” theory.

Baron’s Revised Theory

Later on, researcher Robert Baron expanded upon Zajonc’s theory with his own revision in 1986. Baron argued that it wasn’t just the “mere presence” of others that affected performance, but also factors such as evaluation apprehension and distraction.


In conclusion, while Norman Triplett is credited with conducting one of the earliest experiments related to Social Facilitation Theory, it was Robert Zajonc who developed a comprehensive theory on this phenomenon. Further research by Robert Baron has also contributed towards our understanding of how social facilitation works.

Understanding Social Facilitation Theory can help us better understand how our performance is impacted by the presence of others, and can be applied in a variety of settings, from sports to the workplace.