Self-focused attention and the experience of emotion: Attraction, repulsion, elation, and depression

Michael F. Scheier, Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


Conducted 4 experiments to study the effect of self-focused attention on affective reactions. In addition, the research was also intended to help resolve the controversy over attentional vs arousal explanations of self-awareness research. In Exp I 27 undergraduate men were asked to view and rate slides of nude women in the presence of a mirror or with no mirror. In Exp III, 40 Ss were either exposed or not exposed to a mirror and read a set of mood statements which became either increasingly positive or increasingly negative. Exps II and IV with 59 and 45 Ss, respectively, conceptually replicated Exps I and III by selecting Ss on the basis of private self-consciousness. In each study, self-focused attention increased the person's responsiveness to his transient affective state. The convergence between mirror-manipulated self-awareness and private self-consciousness supports an attentional interpretation of the findings. Implications for self-awareness theory are discussed. (33 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-636
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 1977
Externally publishedYes


  • elation vs depression, college students
  • mirror-manipulated self awareness &
  • private self consciousness, attraction vs repulsion &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology


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