Self-directed attention and the comparison of self with standards

Michael F. Scheier, Charles S Carver

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65 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several theorists have assumed that self-directed attention causes a comparison between one's present behavior or state and whatever is salient and relevant as a standard of comparison. Indirect evidence bearing on this assumption was gathered in a series of four studies by monitoring subjects' tendencies to access concrete information needed to make such behavior-standard comparisons. Self-focus was varied in two of these studies by experimental manipulations: a mirrored surface, and a live observer. In the other two studies, self-focus was operationalized in terms of subjects' dispositional tendencies to direct attention to themselves (self-consciousness). Consistent with expectations, in Experiments 1 and 2, self-directed attention led to increased frequency of referring to drawings of geometric figures when attempting to reproduce them. In Experiments 3 and 4, self-focused attention increased subjects' tendencies to seek out information about ostensible performance norms reflecting the behavior of other subjects, also as predicted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-222
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

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Cite this

Self-directed attention and the comparison of self with standards. / Scheier, Michael F.; Carver, Charles S.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 19, No. 3, 01.01.1983, p. 205-222.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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