Self-focused attention and reactions to fear

Michael F. Scheier, Charles S. Carver, Frederick X. Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Two studies were conducted to study the effect of self-focused attention on behavioral responses to fear. In Experiment 1, phobics and nonphobics were asked to approach and hold a snake either in the presence of a mirror or with no mirror. In Experiment 2, high and low private self-conscious subjects were asked to submit to a series of either mild or strong electric shock for humanitarian reasons. In each case, self-directed attention caused increased responsivity to the fearful affect and made subjects more likely to withdraw from the situation, regardless of the fact that a behavioral standard existed which called for an opposite response. The theoretical and behavioral implications of the findings were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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