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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Social inhibition is the tendency for behaviors that are exhibited when one is alone to be minimized in the presence of others. Despite the long tradition of research investigating the effects of social presence on behavior, research on social inhibition does not constitute a cohesive literature. This chapter integrates social inhibition research from different traditions, focusing on helping behaviors, emotional expression, and behaviors that elicit social disapproval. We discuss moderators and processes that explain when and why social inhibition occurs: arousal, ambiguity, pluralistic ignorance, diffusion of responsibility, feelings of capability, evaluation apprehension, and confusion of responsibility. Key distinctions between social inhibition and related concepts are presented, helping to establish social inhibition as a central social influence concept. We conclude with an analysis of why social inhibition research has not formed a cohesive literature, and we hope that our review of social inhibition facilitates the integration of future research on the topic.

Keywords: social inhibition, social presence, bystander effect, evaluation apprehension, pluralistic ignorance, diffusion of responsibility

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