ERIC Number: ED057894
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969
Reference Count: 0
The Effects of Novel Stimulation on Arousal Level in Young Children Alone and with a Friend.
Schwarz, J. Conrad
To assess the effects of familiar social stimuli on arousal in a novel and mildly stressful environment, skin conductance was measured in 4-year-old nursery school children who experienced this environment under two conditions: (a) alone, and (b) in the presence of a close friend. The study was intended to test Zajonc's (1965) social facilitation hypothesis that the presence of others as spectators or as coactors enhances the emission of dominant responses, and Berlyne's arousal-reinforcement theory (1967), which implies that the affective consequences of a stimulus will be dependent upon prior level of arousal, Teacher ratings identitied mutual friendships between like-sex children, and these children were paired in the experimental room. Electrodes attached to the fingers continuously measured skin conductance while the children listened to tape recorded sound effects (gong, crashing dishes, barking dogs, etc.) spaced at unpredictable intervals against a background of white noise. Results provided support for the present application of neither Berlyne's nor Zajonc's hypothesis, since significant main effects of the Alone vs. Friend conditions were not found. (NH)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Economic Opportunity, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Syracuse Univ., NY.