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Issues related to group-based and – influenced behavior have always been at the heart of social psychology. What is generally considered the first experimental study in social psychology – Norman Triplett's 1898 attempt to explain why bicycling speed records were faster when measured in competition against others – was a demonstration of group-influenced behavior, and led to the development of the notion of social facilitation. The questions of how decision-making group members reach consensus, and whether they are a more effective vehicle for decisions than an insightful individual, remain popular 80 years after they were first introduced. Researchers in other disciplines are increasingly drawn to the group as a focus of study and of course, groups remain the standard decision-making unit for most important decisions ...

Editor's Introduction: Current Directions in Groups' Research

The psychological dynamics of groups is one of the oldest topics in social psychology. In fact, it is one of the oldest topics in psychology, period. In The Principles of Psychology (1890), William James argued (Chapter 10) for the fundamental nature of interpersonal dynamics:

A man's Social Self is the recognition which he gets from his mates. We are not only gregarious animals, liking to be in sight of our fellows, but we have an innate propensity to get ourselves noticed, and noticed favorably, by our kind. No more fiendish punishment could be devised, were such a thing physically possible, than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all the members thereof. If ...

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