Americana: United We Stand Around

For most Americans, a job is a social undertaking. On assembly lines and at construction sites, in offices and around operating tables, many hands make light work. Yet a team of psychologists has found that people may work harder when alone. In groups, the researchers say, Americans become "social loafers."

The team tested a group of Ohio State University students swimming laps, while others were making noise clapping and shouting. Each noisemaker let his output drop by half when he switched from solitude to a group of four. The researchers theorize that workers do poorly in a group because they know they...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!