Z, THEORY. See LEADERSHIP, THEORIES OF.
ZAJONC’S AROUSAL AND CONFLUENCE THEORIES. The Polish-born social psychologist Robert B. Zajonc (1923–) proposed the following generalization concerning social facilitation (i.e., the tendency to perform a task better in the presence of others than when alone) and social interference (i.e., a decline in performance when observers are present): the presence of others facilitates performance of dominant (i.e., simple, habitual, or instinctive) responses and interferes with performance of nondominant (i.e., complex, nonhabitual, or unnatural) responses (Zajonc, 1965). Zajonc explained both facilitation and interference effects by linking them to the more general phenomenon of the effect of high arousal (drive) on performance. That is, high arousal typically improves performance of simple or well-learned tasks and worsens performance of complex or poorly learned tasks (cf: Yerkes & Dodson, 1908). According to Zajonc’s theory, the main effect of the presence of others is to increase arousal after which easy responses are easier, and difficult responses become more difficult. Studies of the influence of others’ presence and the effects of being observed on one’s performance go back to the late 1800s (e.g., Triplett, 1898) and the early 1900s (e.g., Allport, 1920) and reported social facilitation in some experiments but social interference in other studies. Zajonc’s theory was able to explain both types of outcome, suggesting that the mere presence of others who are members of one’s own species may enhance arousal innately (Zajonc, 1965). Reber (1995) cites social facilitation in athletes, children, chickens, and even cockroaches (which ‘‘learn a maze faster if watched by other roaches’’). Other theorists, however, explain such arousal in somewhat different terms; for instance, terms such as evaluation anxiety (e.g., Geen, 1991), self-perception of one’s skill at the task (e.g., Sanna, 1992), and self-consciousness (e.g., Baumeister & Showers, 1986). Zajonc has theorized also concerning the influence