An audience effect is somewhat that we notice every day around. It basically refers to the improvement or the enhancement in the performance of a player, performer, or any other person performing a task, by the presence of the viewers (or audience in this case). The audience effect is a type of social facilitation where the performance of an individual is influenced due to the presence of others that is an audience.


The audience effect was for the first time noticed in the late 1800s by the work of Norman Triplett, a psychologist, who found that the bicyclists were slower when they were allowed to race alone than when they were racing against other cyclists. Some years later, it was discovered by Zajonc that the improvement in performance always depended on the complexity of the task. He found and also stated that a person would perform even simple tasks at a better rate and more accurately in front of a large audience as compared to when alone. And a person would do even worse when asked to perform a complex task in front of audiences than when asked to perform alone. This is called as social inhibition.

An audience effect basically can be stated as normal human behavior that each one of us faces in or the other part of our life. When any person is aware of the fact that the people sitting right in front of them are watching them and noticing each and every activity that a person is doing, then there is a natural tendency of that person to get nervous and hence perform worse. This may be seen in stage shows, dance, drama, competition, and many other areas. While, if we look at the second condition of the audience effect, then the performance of an individual gets enhanced when they become aware that the audiences are watching them. This could be a possibility when a person has a clear intention to make a good impression on the viewers. This intent them to perform much better than their ability and hence this results in a better performance.


This effect is one of the oldest as studied in the field of psychology and was the subject of intensive study at that time but with less interest. Nowadays we can even reform this effect and hence look at the various ways in which this effect can help us further. Particular, we can consider whether audience effects can give us a better understanding at social cognition in different kinds of populations, including people with autism (a disorder in which people face communication problem), people who face anxiety while talking and interacting with the public, people of different age groups and people from different cultures as well.

As we now know that an Audience effect is a change in behavior caused by the thought of being observed by several persons, or the belief that one person is being observed by another person. this requires at least the awareness of the performer that he is being observed by other people and at least once they have made eye contact. This is in contrast with the social facilitation, which is regarded as a change in behavior of an individual caused by the mere presence of a viewer who might be or might not be watching the performer or interacting with the participant.


This phenomenon can be easily seen in a wide range of species i.e. from humans to even cockroaches. However, if we look in the case of humans the mere presence of another person, the one who is not watching does not change the behavior of a performing individual in the way like a watching audience does. in easy words, we can say that a person who is performing is more influenced or affected by the people who are watching them and least affected by the people who are sitting there, but not watching them. Thus, we can say that in social facilitation and mere presence the effects are not the same as that of a true audience effect.

The audience effect is also in opposition to the co-action effects, which is regarded as the change in the behavior when two or more individuals work on the same task. This includes joint action but could also show a wide variety of synchronized and behavioral coordination between people. Co-action requires a much higher level of coordination than an audience effect this is because when two or more persons perform the same task collectively then their understanding and communication is the foremost important thing. No group task can be successful without good coordination. If the people in your group perform well then getting influenced and trying to perform well by yourself is a natural factor in humans.


The Audience effect primarily suggests that people maintain a good public image of themselves and also consider how other people evaluate their performance when an audience is present and is watching their tasks. Being seen by others to make errors on hard tasks would make them lead to a fall in their self-esteem, they regard themselves as a bad performer and a feeling of embarrassment holds them tight. Another disadvantage of this can be that due to the above reasons the main perform for the tasks in the worst manner. It was also found that performance on complicated tasks that were embedded in easy tasks did not show an audience effect. This means that task difficulty does not determine the audience’s effect and the audiences are not affected by the complexity of the task. The person who is performing the task has a reputation to maintain and also to build up a higher trust of the audience. This stress alone sometimes leads to failure in the performance of an individual.

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