A good deal of previous research has investigated people's tendencies to seek out versus avoid ability-diagnostic information. The present research was intended to investigate a potentially important moderator of these tendencies: the personality disposition called self-consciousness. Subjects were initially given bogus feedback indicating that they had either moderately high or low levels of surgency-an ability with which they were relatively unfamiliar. Afterward, all subjects were allowed to choose the composition of a second surgency task, by selecting test items from among several categories. For some items, but not others, performance norms were ostensibly available, which would allow subjects to evaluate the adequacy of their performance on those items. As predicted, private self-consciousness interacted with initial outcome, such that seeking of norms (after success) and avoidance of norms (after failure) occurred only among people who were relatively high in private self-consciousness. Discussion centers on the importance of dispositional self-consciousness as a moderator variable in a wide range of behavioral domains.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science