“Self-Focused Attention and Negative Affect: A Meta-Analysis

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 08/2002; 128(4):638-62. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.4.638
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This meta-analysis synthesized 226 effect sizes reflecting the relation between self-focused attention and negative affect (depression, anxiety, negative mood). The results demonstrate the multifaceted nature of self-focused attention and elucidate major controversies in the field. Overall, self-focus was associated with negative affect. Several moderators qualified this relationship. Self-focus and negative affect were more strongly related in clinical and female-dominated samples. Rumination yielded stronger effect sizes than nonruminative self-focus. Self-focus on positive self-aspects and following a positive event were related to lower negative affect. Most important, an interaction between foci of self-attention and form of negative affect was found: Private self-focus was more strongly associated with depression and generalized anxiety, whereas public self-focus was more strongly associated with social anxiety.

Download full-text


Available from: Nilly Mor, Sep 25, 2015
844 Reads
    • "Rumination has been related to depression and even predicts (new episodes of) depression (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2000). Chronic negative affect is related to heightened self-focus and especially a ruminative self-focus, suggesting a reciprocal relation (Mor & Winquist, 2002). Indeed, it has been shown that self-focused rumination induction leads to more negative thinking and impairs interpersonal problem solving in dysphoric people (Lyubomirsky & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1995). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The attentional scope model of rumination describes the links between rumination and attentional breadth. The model postulates that a more narrow attentional scope, caused by negative mood, increases the likelihood that thoughts become repetitive on the same topic, which in turn could exacerbate negative mood and lead to more attentional narrowing. We experimentally tested this model by examining the attentional effects of rumination using a newly developed rumination versus problem-solving induction. In the first experiment we found that only at high levels of trait rumination, induction of rumination compared with a problem-solving approach was associated with more attentional narrowing for self-related information relative to other-related information. A second experiment on the relationship between trait rumination and attentional breadth in the absence of induced rumination revealed that especially trait brooding was related to more narrowed attention for self-related information relative to other-related information.
    07/2015; 3(4). DOI:10.1177/2167702614566814
  • Source
    • "Although the available evidence as to whether baroreceptor activation is able to modulate the subjective appraisal of affective pictures is still inconclusive (Nyklíc̆ ek et al., 2005; Gray et al., 2012), there is growing support for the assumption that not only somatosensory processing (Edwards et al., 2009), but also genuinely cognitive functions, such as stimulus evaluation and motor response times, are affected by the cardiac cycle (Schulz et al., 2009). In addition to the impact of baro-afferent feedback, we were interested in potential interactions with the participants' subjective mood, because several theoretical models derived both from research in personality/ social psychology and from clinical observations posit a close, possibly reciprocal relationship between negative affect and attention directed toward the self (see Mor and Winquist, 2002). Moreover, previous studies on attentional modulation of startle point to the possibility that the association between startle reactivity and self-focused attention may be a complex one, possibly moderated by negative emotional states such as anxiety (Panayiotou and Vrana, 1998). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although salient stimuli are known to modulate startle eye-blink responses, and one's own face is considered of particular salience, effects of facial self-resemblance on startle responsiveness have not been systematically investigated. For the present study, pictures from the FACES database (rated as neutral) were digitally morphed to resemble the participants' (N=37) faces to varying degrees (25-50-75 %). Perceptually matched geometrical shapes served as a control condition. At SOAs of either 300 ms or 3000 ms after picture onset, startle responses were elicited by white noise (50 ms, 105 dB), and recorded at the orbicularis oculi via EMG. Prior to the experiment, self-reported mood was assessed by means of the PANAS. Relative to non-face stimuli, the presentation of faces reduced startle magnitude at short, but not long, lead intervals. Furthermore, for probes presented at a SOA of 300 ms, a linear decrease in startle magnitude with higher levels of self-resemblance was observed, presumably reflecting higher salience of the self-face. The startle modulating effect of self-resembling faces during longer lead intervals was moderated by the participants' current mood: negative affect predicted stronger patterns of attenuation, which might be interpreted as an increase in self-focus resulting from more negative mood. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 04/2015; 96(3). DOI:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.04.009 · 2.88 Impact Factor
    • "One possibility is that endorphins influence disclosure intimacy (and hence facilitate the development of social bonds) by allowing one to shift attention away from oneself. Since excessive self-focus increases access to negative attitudes and interferes with performance in social situations (Ickes et al. 1973; Mor and Winquist 2002), endorphins may serve to facilitate interaction through reducing self-directed attention; alleviating concerns about disclosing too much information or coming across as " weird " or unlikable, and, in turn, promoting the exchange of intimacies. That endorphins may increase disclosure intimacy by shifting attention away from the self suggests an alternative (though not necessarily mutually exclusive) explanation for why laughter influenced observer-rated but not self-rated disclosure intimacy— namely, that laughter reduces self-focus, and that this in turn reduces awareness of how intimately one is disclosing. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: If laughter functions to build relationships between individuals, as current theory suggests, laughter should be linked to interpersonal behaviors that have been shown to be critical to relationship development. Given the importance of disclosing behaviors in facilitating the development of intense social bonds, it is possible that the act of laughing may temporarily influence the laugher's willingness to disclose personal information. We tested this hypothesis experimentally by comparing the characteristics of self-disclosing statements produced by those who had previously watched one of three video clips that differed in the extent to which they elicited laughter and positive affect. The results show that disclosure intimacy is significantly higher after laughter than in the control condition, suggesting that this effect may be due, at least in part, to laughter itself and not simply to a change in positive affect. However, the disclosure intimacy effect was only found for observers' ratings of participants' disclosures and was absent in the participants' own ratings. We suggest that laughter increases people's willingness to disclose, but that they may not necessarily be aware that it is doing so.
    Human Nature 03/2015; 26(1). DOI:10.1007/s12110-015-9225-8 · 1.96 Impact Factor
Show more