Physical aggression as a function of objective self-awareness and attitudes toward punishment

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Based on a theory of self-awareness, it was hypothesized that subjects would use their attitudes to determine their behaviors when (a) that attitude was salient and (b) their attention was directed toward themselves. Subjects, who on questionnaires had indicated that they opposed or condoned the use of punishment, were given the opportunity to shock a male confederate in two (bogus) learning experiments. Each subject was instructed to use his own attitude in choosing shocks to punish incorrect responses. Self-awareness was increased among half the subjects by the presence of a mirror. In each experiment a Punitiveness by self-awareness interaction resulted: High Punitive-Mirror subjects shocked higher than Low Punitive-Mirror subjects, but their respective No Mirror controls did not differ from each other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-519
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1975
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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