At almost every turn, we are involved in groups. Our world contains not only billions of individuals but hundreds of nations, states, and communities. We have countless formal and informal groups such as churches, schools, etc. All these groups influence our attitudes and behavior. Group interactions often have dramatic effects. Hence it is important to be part of groups that would influence us positively. And help us in becoming good citizens.
We tend to join student associations, clubs, religious groups, and even informal groups of friends to hang out discussing various issues.
Social psychologists list out following reasons for people joining various groups (Paulus, 1989):
- Groups help us to satisfy important psychological and social needs. Such as giving and receiving attention and a sense of belongingness. We feel lonely when we are socially isolated. And secure when in the company of like-minded people.
- It helps us to achieve goals that are not easy to attain as individuals. By working with others, we can perform better.
- Group membership often provides information. We can share a lot of knowledge. This is not possible when we are alone.
- It helps in meeting our security needs. In affiliation, there is protection felt against enemies.
Formation of group:
Some of the interesting conditions that influence interaction in group formation.
Our physical surroundings exert a critical influence on who we are likely to meet. For instance, two people tend to become friends if there is regular contact through physical proximity. Each of them experiences something positive rather than negative.
Studies indicate that similarity in attitude determines interpersonal association, intelligence, age, and interest can all lead to friendship. When people of similar qualities meet they tend to reinforce and validate opinions. This results in frequent meetings and the exchange of ideas, leading to the formation of the group.