Term of Award

Summer 1998

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

John Murray

Committee Member 1

Richard Rogers

Committee Member 2

Tom Case

Abstract

The following study explored the extent to which a prominent theory of procedural memory (Anderson, 1993) would predict the persistence of a routine among individuals working as part of a group. A sample of 144 college students performed a text editing task within a 2 (positive versus negative feedback) x 4 (group evaluation method) between-groups design, replicating Steiner's (1966) model that predicted social loafing (free riding) versus optimizing effort. This model was used to test the theory that group routines are stored as procedural memory. Free riders were expected to withhold effort relative to group members who had not previously developed this routine, even when their performance became more essential to the group's success. (The opposite situation was also assessed, with effort first being indispensable and later becoming nonessential.) The findings provided limited support for these predictions.

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