SILVIA AND O’BRIENSELF-AWARENESS
SELF-AWARENESS AND CONSTRUCTIVE
FUNCTIONING: REVISITING “THE HUMAN
PAUL J. SILVIA AND MAUREEN E. O’BRIEN
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Self-awareness—the capacity to focus attention on oneself, and thus to self-evalu-
ate—has a bad reputation in social-clinical psychology because of its ties to nega-
tive affect, depression, suicide, and dysfunction. Using Rollo May’s (1967) analysis
of “the human dilemma,” we outline self-awareness’s beneficial contributions to
psychological functioning. Without self-awareness, people could not take the per-
spectives of others, exercise self-control, produce creative accomplishments, or
experience pride and high self-esteem. Research suggests that the positive and neg-
ative facets of self-awareness are reconciled when people have reasonable
self-standards and when they are optimistic about meeting their standards.
Self-awareness—the ability to focus attention on self as an object
(Carver, 2003; Duval & Silvia, 2001)—has had a major influence on the
intersection of social and clinical psychology. Since Duval and
Wicklund (1972) showed that self-focused attention promotes self-eval-
uation, a massive amount of research has connected self-awareness to
aversive, dysfunctional, and problematic outcomes (Ingram, 1990;
Wells & Matthews, 1994). It’s no surprise, then, that a glance at how
self-awareness is treated in the social-clinical literature reveals
self-awareness theories of depression (Pyszczynski & Greenberg, 1987),
alcoholism (Hull, 1981), and socially irresponsible behavior
(Prentice-Dunn & Rogers, 1989); models of how self-awareness in-
creases negative affect and reduces well-being (Fejfar & Hoyle, 2000;
Mor & Winquist, 2002); and discussions of how self-awareness pro-
motes suicide, masochism, and self-destructive behavior (Baumeister,
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2004, pp. 475-489
Address correspondence to Paul J. Silvia, Department of Psychology, PO Box 26170,
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170; E-mail:
The outlook for self-awareness is bleak, to be sure, but not unrealistic.
All of the theories just listed are well reasoned and supported by re-
search. If there were ever a variable to be avoided in everyday life,
self-awareness would seem to be it. But before we banish self-aware-
ness, we might do well to remember Rollo May’s (1967) seminal analysis
of self-awareness and human functioning. Our goal in this article is to re-
habilitate self-awareness’s reputation in social-clinical psychology, us-
ing May’s ideas as a guide. Certainly self-awareness has a guilty con-
science—its role in dysfunction is clear. But its redeeming qualities, its
contributions to constructive human functioning, are just as significant.
In this article, we hope to illuminate some of self-awareness’s contri-
butions to the good life and constructive functioning, using examples
from the research literature. Then we’ll consider some ways in which the
positive and negative aspects of self-awareness can be reconciled, thus
synthesizing what May (1967) called “the human dilemma.”
THE HUMAN DILEMMA
Rollo May (1967) anticipated a lot of research with his book Psychology
and the Human Dilemma. May argued that a person’s biggest problem is
reconciling what he labeled “the human dilemma.” This dilemma is our
capacity for self-awareness:
The human dilemma is that which arises out of a man’s capacity to experience
himself as both subject and object at the same time. Both are necessary—for
the science of psychology, for therapy, and for gratifying living. (May,
1967, p. 8).
When we focus attention on ourselves, we experience our selves as ob-
jects. We can thus appraise our qualities like we appraise other people
and inanimate objects. This form of experience has broad and negative
consequences. As May notes, “If ...Isetouttodeal with myself as ‘pure
object,’ fully determined and manipulatable, I become driven, dried up,
affectless, and unrelated to my experiences” (p. 9). Seeing the self as an
object reminds us that we have boundaries and flaws, that we can be
controlled and manipulated just like other objects, that outside forces
impinge on what we do and thus constrain our sense of self-determina-
tion. In contrast, experiencing self subjectively is pleasant, a flow state of
rich affective experience, boundlessness, and feelings of self-determina-
tion; people lose a sense of self as an object that can be controlled and
So what’s the dilemma? We already know that self-awareness has
maladaptive effects. The quandary, according to May (1967), is that
476 SILVIA AND O’BRIEN
dealing with ourselves as “pure subject” is also maladaptive. Life has
real constraints and real boundaries:
If I try to act as “pure subject,” free and untrammeled by the finite re-
quirements of traffic lights and the engineering principles of how fast
my car can negotiate the curve, I of course come to grief—and generally
not so nobly or theatrically as Icarus. (p. 9)
The dilemma, then, is that both modes of experience are detrimental and
essential. Human life is thus lived within a dialectic, a tension between
the benefits and costs of different experiences of self. Already we see a
contrast to modern social-clinical theorizing on self-awareness. May
agrees that self-awareness can lead to needless self-criticism, but asserts
that self-awareness ultimately is essential for constructive living. Avoid-
ing self-awareness, according to May, should not be the goal. Instead,
people need to achieve a synthesis of the objective and the subjective
states—they need to maximize their gain and minimize their suffering
from self-awareness. Unfortunately, May had few specific suggestions
on how to accomplish this.
In the following sections, we’ll see what social-clinical research has
to say about self-awareness. In the spirit of May’s analysis, we’ll con-
sider both positive and negative consequences of self-awareness. After
exploring both sides of the dialectic, we’ll examine some ways to maxi-
mize the benefits of self-awareness and thus resolve the human di-
MALADAPTIVE ASPECTS OF SELF-AWARENESS
Self-awareness’s maladaptive aspects have been reviewed in detail else-
where (Pyszczynski, Hamilton, Greenberg, & Becker, 1991), so we’ll
note only the highlights here. Smith and Greenberg (1981) were the first
to observe links between self-focused attention and depressive symp-
toms. A lot of work since then has shown that self-awareness can exacer-
bate the experience of negative events and eventually lead to a
“depressive self-focusing style” (Pyszczynski & Greenberg, 1987). In-
deed, reducing self-awareness via distracting activities improves
well-being (Brockner & Hulton, 1978; Nix, Watson, Pyszczynski, &
Greenberg, 1995). Theories of depression emphasizing rumination also
accord a large role to self-focused attention (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1991).
Recent studies on emotional disorders implicate self-awareness as a
culprit. A wide variety of affective disorders develop in part because
people focus on their internal states (Wells & Matthews, 1994) and be-
cause self-awareness might bias the interoception process (Silvia &
Gendolla, 2001). Self-observation, in conjunction with other processes,
lays the groundwork for obsessive preoccupations with internal experi-
ence. Self-awareness also correlates with neuroticism, which is essen-
tially the trait of chronic unhappiness (Trapnell & Campbell, 1999). Evi-
dence like this led Ingram (1990) to argue that self-awareness plays a
broad role in psychopathology. His review shows that a wide variety of
disorders are instigated and maintained by chronic self-awareness.
In Baumeister’s (1991) escape theory of suicide, self-awareness pro-
motes attempts at self-destruction. When people’s experiences fall short
of their expectations, they often blame themselves. This self-critical ten-
dency is exaggerated when people are highly self-aware (Duval &
Wicklund, 1973). People can become locked in a cycle of self-criticism
and rumination, leading to ever more desperate attempts at mood re-
pair. This basic cycle underlies other self-destructive behaviors, such as
binge eating, masochism, alcoholism, and drug use, as people search for
ways to reduce self-awareness and its resulting self-criticism
(Baumeister, 1991; Hull, 1981).
Self-awareness also decreases intrinsic motivation and interest (Plant
& Ryan, 1985). Research on flow experiences finds that a primary com-
ponent of optimal experience is reduced self-awareness
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Csikszentmihalyi & Figurski, 1982). When
self-awareness is increased, the person feels less integrated with the ac-
tivity, and the intensity of positive affect declines (Silvia, 2002a, 2002b).
Self-awareness also plays a role in social anxiety and shyness (Spurr &
Stopa, 2002; Woody, 1996) and in making people feel “alienated from
interaction” (Goffman, 1967).
CONSTRUCTIVE ASPECTS OF SELF-AWARENESS
Given these dysfunctional processes, how does self-awareness enhance
constructive functioning? Here we consider the brighter side of
self-awareness: how it enables perspective-taking, self-control, creative
accomplishments, and high self-esteem.
Without self-awareness, people could not recognize that their perspec-
tives might differ from another’s perspective (Shibutani, 1961). A person
cannot comprehend that self and others differ—that others might have
different needs, thoughts, and properties—without first comprehend-
ing that the self exists as a bounded, situated entity. Perspective-taking
is thus essential for negotiating the thicket of social interaction
(Goffman, 1967; Shibutani, 1961) and for conveying information about
478 SILVIA AND O’BRIEN
the self to other people (Schlenker, 2003). Increased perspective-taking
promotes empathic responses to the plights of others (Batson, 1991);
failed perspective-taking promotes viewing others in terms of their use-
fulness for the egocentric person’s goals (Wicklund, 1999).
Developmental research shows that the appearance of perspec-
tive-taking depends on the emergence of self-awareness. As children be-
gin showing signs of self-awareness—such as mirror self-recognition
and linguistic self-reference (Kagan, 1981)—they behave less
egocentrically. Indeed, some measures of self-awareness are based on
perspective-taking. For example, one task measures whether the child
can deceive another person; another test measures whether the child as-
sumes that others share the child’s hidden knowledge (Lewis, 1990).
And after the development of self-awareness, children are no longer in-
different to the distress of their peers. They begin responding to others’
distress with confusion and eventually with acts of empathy and
consolation (Denham, 1998).
Experiments directly show how situational changes in self-awareness
affect perspective-taking (Stephenson & Wicklund, 1983). In one study,
people were asked to draw an Eon their foreheads (Hass, 1984). When
people were made more self-aware, they drew the Efrom the perspec-
tive of an observer rather than from the self’s perspective. In another
study, participants sat facing another person and tried to guide the per-
son through a maze (Stephenson & Wicklund, 1984). High self-aware-
ness reduced perspective-taking errors, such as saying “right” to refer to
the other person’s left. In sum, self-awareness enables perspective-tak-
ing when viewed developmentally (Kagan, 1981) and situationally
The price of civilization might not be repression, as Freud contended,
but it is certainly circumscription. Living among social groups brings
many benefits, and people are expected to repay these benefits through
their conduct. Sociologists remind us that the goals of society are fur-
thered when people internalize the society’s standards and feel pride
and shame when they meet and fall short of them (Shibutani, 1961).
Self-awareness enables people to internalize standards of conduct, ap-
praise whether or not they’re meeting them, and reflect upon their ac-
tions in light of broader principles. Self-awareness is thus a cornerstone
Research on deindividuation illustrates how self-awareness can re-
strain antisocial impulses (Postmes & Spears, 1998). Increasing self-fo-
cused attention makes people less likely to cheat on tests, steal candy,
and lie about standardized test scores (see Diener, 1979; Prentice-Dunn
& Rogers, 1989; Pryor, Gibbons, Wicklund, Fazio, & Hood, 1977, Study
2), presumably because self-aware people try to align their activity with
their internalized standards for honesty (see Carver, 2003). Increasing
self-awareness also reduces the diffusion of responsibility; self-aware
people are more likely to step forward and take responsibility for help-
ing someone in need (Wegner & Schaefer, 1978).
Self-awareness enables creative achievements, but how it does so is not ob-
vious. In fact, a lot of laboratory research finds that self-evaluating reduces
creativity. Amabile’s (1996) research, for example, shows how circum-
stances that promote self-evaluation—criticism, deadlines, monitoring,
and judgments—will reduce creativity. Experiments that directly manipu-
late self-evaluation find negative effects on creativity. In a study by
Szymanski and Harkins (1992), for instance, people generated creative uses
for a knife. High self-evaluation reduced the creativity of the responses.
But perhaps a distinction should be made between college students
making collages in the lab and the profound creative achievements that
initiate new disciplines and change cultures. Such accomplishments do
not come about by intrinsic motivation alone—being interested in the
topic, being in states of flow, and experiencing positive emotions are not
enough (Feist, 1998; Rathunde, 1999; Russ, 1993). Instead, some theories
of creativity argue that true creative accomplishment requires self-criti-
cism. Martindale (1999) proposes that creativity has two facets: a process
of divergent thinking, and a process of evaluating the self’s output.
Many ideas—such as ideas for novels, poems, paintings, or experi-
ments—are not worth implementing. Self-criticism enables creative
products by identifying the good ideas and weeding out the bad ideas.
Likewise, not all finished products are worth revealing to others. After
creating something, people need to judge it (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). Is
the self’s creative product new or derivative, complete or unfinished,
meritorious or trivial? Congruent with this approach, case studies of cre-
ative artists show that creative products nearly always represent the
culmination of long periods of revision and effort (Csikszentmihalyi,
1996; Graham & Harris, 1994).
Creativity might best show the synthesis of Rollo May’s objective and
subjective modes of experience (cf. Rathunde, 1999). In some circum-
stances, self-awareness is necessary to further the creative process. Con-
tinuously low self-awareness would prevent the self-criticism needed to
judge one’s creative actions in relation to one’s standards. Continuously
high self-awareness would stunt the creative process by inhibiting the
480 SILVIA AND O’BRIEN
subjective state needed for creating new products (Runco, 1991). By al-
lowing people to critique their ideas, evaluate their works-in-progress,
and appraise their finished products, self-awareness enables people to
go beyond first drafts and half-formed ideas.
PRIDE AND HIGH SELF-ESTEEM
One side of the relationship between self-awareness and self-evaluation
receives the most attention. Research usually focuses on how falling
short of standards is a source of negative affect and how this might be a
starting point for later problems (Baumeister, 1991). Yet meeting stan-
dards is a source of positive affect—seeing the self as the cause of success
leads to positive feelings of pride and is thus a basis of self-esteem
(Duval & Silvia, 2001; Weiner, 1985). Early research found that manipu-
lating self-awareness per se does not automatically lead to negative af-
fect. When people are congruent with their standards, their mood
becomes more positive (Ickes, Wicklund, & Ferris, 1973) and they prefer
to stay in self-focusing situations (Greenberg & Musham, 1981;
Steenbarger & Aderman, 1979). Indeed, self-awareness boosts self-es-
teem following success because it increases the tendency to attribute
causality to self (Duval & Wicklund, 1973). For instance, Duval and
Silvia (2002, Study 3) gave people success feedback on a cognitive task.
When self-awareness was high, people experienced higher state self-es-
teem in response to their success. This increase was mediated by self-at-
tributions for the success event: Self-awareness increased internal
attributions for success, which in turn increased self-esteem.
Developmental research illustrates further how self-awareness is criti-
cal for feelings of pride. Heckhausen (1987) studied how the emotional
aspects of achievement develop in young children. He found that young
children displayed neither pride nor shame upon succeeding or failing
at a task. Instead, they simply expressed interest or boredom, either en-
joying the task for its own sake or finding it tedious. When self-aware-
ness developed and children became capable of self-evaluation, shame
and pride became apparent. Children then showed anticipated shame
and pride in response to tasks that evoked expectations of success and
failure, and their performance led to achievement-related emotions.
Success caused feelings of pride and the development of a self-theory of
RESOLVING THE HUMAN DILEMMA
Our review of social and clinical research shows that self-awareness can
have adaptive and maladaptive effects. Rollo May (1967) emphasized
that synthesizing the objective and subjective modes of self-experience
was a challenge; failing to reconcile this dialectic is a common source of
suffering. Yet May did not describe how people can organize these op-
posing features and thus maximize the benefits of self-awareness. Based
on research since May’s writings, several resolutions of the human
dilemma can be proposed.
Trapnell and Campbell (1999) offer a possible resolution rooted in the
study of individual differences in self-awareness. They noted a “para-
dox of self-consciousness,” namely, that dispositional self-awareness
correlates with positive and negative outcomes. To reconcile this para-
dox, they distinguished between two types of dispositional self-aware-
ness: rumination and reflection. In their view, “Rumination provides a
summary conception of self-attentiveness motivated by perceived
threats, losses, or injustices to the self. Reflection provides a summary
conception of self-attentiveness motivated by curiosity or epistemic in-
terest in the self” (p. 297). In short, opposing effects might reflect
different types of self-awareness.
Although some research supports the rumination-reflection distinc-
tion (e.g., Joireman, Parrott, & Hammersla, 2002), it is not the way to re-
solve the disparate effects of self-awareness. First, it applies only to indi-
vidual differences in self-awareness, and thus it cannot explain how
contextual factors moderate the effects of self-awareness. Second, the
proposal that good and bad outcomes result from good and bad types of
self-awareness strikes us as a weak explanation (see Wicklund, 1990).
Many variables have opposing effects when they interact with other
variables. Social influence attempts can create compliance or reactance
(Brehm, 1966); similarity can cause attraction or rejection (Taylor &
Mettee, 1971); novelty can create feelings of interest or anxiety (Silvia, in
press). Researchers have not concluded from these findings that there
must be two types of social influence, two types of similarity, or two
types of novelty. These findings represent interactions, not paradoxes.
The key is to identify and understand the interacting variables, not to
split one variable into two types.
Positing a curvilinear, inverted-U relationship between self-aware-
ness and adaptive functioning is another possible resolution. Perhaps
low and high levels of self-awareness lead to maladaptive functioning,
whereas intermediate levels promote constructive functioning. Al-
though intuitive, this approach is too vague to resolve our dilemma. Un-
less we know why there is an inverted-U function, a curvilinear model
does not explain the disparate effects of self-awareness. Furthermore, an
intermediate level of self-awareness is not always optimal. If a person
succeeds, high self-awareness would boost self-esteem more than mod-
erate self-awareness would (Duval & Silvia, 2002, Study 3). In this case,
482 SILVIA AND O’BRIEN
high self-awareness would be better than moderate self-awareness.
Conversely, after failing an unsolvable test, low self-awareness would
be better—high self-awareness would lead to lower self-esteem and per-
sistence at an unsolvable task. In this case, low rather than moderate
self-awareness would be optimal.
An alternative approach is to specify the processes that moderate the
effects of self-awareness. Instead of proposing good and bad kinds of
self-awareness or arguing for optimal levels of self-awareness, we think
it is more productive to identify the variables that determine the positive
and negative effects of self-awareness. Several factors enable a produc-
tive synthesis of objective and subjective self-awareness.
First, people must have reasonable standards for themselves. Re-
search on self-awareness and psychopathology shows that high stan-
dards are a risk factor for dysfunction (e.g., Carver & Ganellen, 1983). In
Baumeister’s (1991) suicide model, for instance, the first step toward
self-destruction is feeling that life has fallen short of one’s expectations.
High expectations are less likely to be met. In Pyszczynski and
Greenberg’s (1987) model, high standards increase the chances of fail-
ing, which increases self-focusing upon one’s liabilities. Olympian aspi-
rations are rewarding when they are met, but it’s hard to meet high stan-
dards all the time. People can feel pride upon meeting their standards,
but perfectionistic standards more commonly lead to chronic self-criti-
cism (Ellis, 1962). Setting reasonable standards and changing unreason-
able standards to be more moderate (Dana, Lalwani, & Duval, 1997;
Duval & Lalwani, 1999) are effective ways of maximizing the benefits of
How can people change their standards? This topic has received little
attention in self-awareness research. Early theories of self-awareness
did not consider when people change their standards (Carver & Scheier,
1981; Duval & Wicklund, 1972)—changing self and avoiding self-aware-
ness received more attention. The updated theory of objective
self-awareness (Duval & Silvia, 2001) argues that causal attributions de-
termine whether people change standards, change self, or avoid
self-awareness. When people experience a self-standard discrepancy,
they make attributions for the cause of the discrepancy. If the discrep-
ancy is attributed to the standard, the standard is seen as the cause of the
problem and hence the thing that should be changed (Duval & Silvia,
2001, chap. 7). People will attribute failure to their standards when their
attention is focused on the standard instead of on self (Dana et al., 1997),
because focusing attention on an object makes the object more plausible
as a cause for the event (Taylor & Fiske, 1978). Attribution to the stan-
dard leads people to change the standard to be closer to the self’s level of
performance (Duval & Lalwani, 1999).
Second, people must be optimistic about their ability to meet their
standards. Feeling able to improve—both in the sense of having per-
sonal agency as well as specific pathways toward goals (Bandura, 1997;
Maddux & Gosselin, 2003; Snyder, 2000)—contributes to motivation
and mitigates against the experience of failure. People’s rate of progress
consistently appears as a moderator of the effects of self-awareness on
goal pursuit. Early research found that high self-awareness promoted
approach when people had positive expectancies and avoidance when
people had negative expectancies (Carver, Blaney, & Scheier, 1979).
Later research found that the rate of progress relative to the size of the
discrepancy moderated approach versus avoidance (Duval, Duval, &
Mulilis, 1992). Feeling optimistic, then, determines whether self-aware-
ness leads people to persist in striving for their standards or to give up
Optimism about future improvement also moderates how self-aware-
ness influences reactions to failure. After failing, people can respond
constructively (trying harder, practicing) or defensively (blaming others
for failing, avoiding practice opportunities). Self-awareness can lead to
constructive or defensive responses to failure, depending on whether
people feel able to do better in the future. For example, self-awareness
promotes both self-serving and self-blaming attributions for failure
(Duval & Silvia, 2002; Silvia & Duval, 2001). In one experiment (Duval &
Silvia, 2001a, Study 1), people received failure feedback on a self-rele-
vant dimension. Some people were told they could improve; others were
told they could not improve. When self-awareness was high, people
who expected to improve blamed themselves for failing, whereas peo-
ple who did not expect to improve blamed external factors for failure
(see Figure 1). Likewise, self-awareness promotes scapegoating—blam-
ing other people for one’s own failure—when people feel unable to im-
prove, but it leads to self-blame when people feel able to improve (Silvia
& Duval, 2001b). Self-blame for failure, although detrimental to self-es-
teem in the short term (Duval & Silvia, 2002, Study 2), motivates people
to change the self in constructive ways, such as through practicing
(Duval & Lalwani, 1999).
Research on expectancies nicely demonstrates how contextual factors
can determine whether self-awareness has adaptive or maladaptive ef-
fects. When people feel able to improve, high self-awareness leads to try-
ing harder and taking responsibility for failing, which in turn lead to ac-
tual self-improvement and the resolution of problems (Silvia & Duval,
2004). In this case, high self-awareness is more useful than moderate or
low self-awareness. When people feel unable to improve, however, high
self-awareness leads to pinning the blame on other people and on the en-
vironment, avoiding attempts to practice, and giving up early. In this
484 SILVIA AND O’BRIEN
case, low self-awareness would be more useful because reduced
self-awareness would reduce defensiveness.
Social-clinical research on self-awareness has emphasized dysfunc-
tional and maladaptive aspects of self-focused attention. Self-awareness
certainly plays a role in psychological dysfunction, yet its role in con-
structive functioning should not go unnoticed. Without self-awareness,
it would be difficult for people to take the perspectives of other people,
exercise self-control, produce creative accomplishments, and experi-
ence pride and high self-esteem. Rollo May’s (1967) analysis of
self-awareness as a “human dilemma” highlights the dialectical nature
of self-awareness. In May’s view, constructive living requires synthesiz-
FIGURE 1. How self-awareness and ability to improve affect attributions for failure (from
Duval & Silvia, 2002, Experiment 1).
ing the positive and negative features of self-awareness. Research sug-
gests that people maximize their gain from their capacity for
self-reflection when they set reasonable standards for themselves and
when they feel optimistic about their ability to meet their standards in
the face of setbacks and failures.
Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context. Boulder, CO: Westview.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
Batson, C. D. (1991). The altruism question. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Baumeister, R. F. (1991). Escaping the self. New York: Basic Books.
Brehm, J. W. (1966). A theory of psychological reactance. New York: Academic Press.
Brockner, J., & Hulton, J. B. (1978). How to reverse the vicious cycle of low self-esteem: The
importanceof attentional focus.Journal ofExperimentalSocial Psychology, 14,564-578.
Carver, C. S. (2003). Self-awareness. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self
and identity (pp. 179-196). New York: Guilford.
Carver, C. S., Blaney, P. H., & Scheier, M. F. (1979). Focus of attention, chronic expectancy,
and responses to a feared stimulus. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37,
Carver, C. S., & Ganellen, R. J. (1983). Depression and components of self-punitiveness:
High standards, self-criticism, and overgeneralization. Journal of Abnormal Psychol-
ogy, 92, 330-337.
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1981). Attention and self-regulation. New York: Springer.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York:
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity. New York: Harper-Collins.
Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Figurski, T. J. (1982). Self-awareness and aversive experience in
everyday life. Journal of Personality, 50, 15-28.
Dana, E. R., Lalwani, N., & Duval, T. S. (1997). Objective self-awareness and focus of atten-
tion following awareness of self-standard discrepancies: Changing self or changing
standards of correctness. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 16, 359-380.
Denham, S. A. (1998). Emotional development in young children. New York: Guilford.
Diener, E. (1979). Deindividuation, self-awareness, and disinhibition. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 37, 1160-1171.
Duval, T. S., Duval, V. H., & Mulilis, J. P. (1992). Effects of self-focus, discrepancy between
self and standard, and outcome expectancy favorability on the tendency to match
self to standard or to withdraw. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62,
Duval, T. S., & Lalwani, N. (1999). Objective self-awareness and causal attributions for
self-standard discrepancies: Changing self or changing standards of correctness.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1220-1229.
Duval, T. S., & Silvia, P. J. (2001). Self-awareness and causal attribution: A dual systems theory.
Boston: Kluwer Academic.
Duval, T. S., & Silvia, P. J. (2002). Self-awareness, probability of improvement, and the
self-serving bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 49-61.
Duval, T. S., & Wicklund, R. A. (1972). A theory of objective self awareness. New York: Aca-
486 SILVIA AND O’BRIEN
Duval, T. S., & Wicklund, R. A. (1973). Effects of objective self-awareness on attributions of
causality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 9, 17-31.
Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. New York: Stuart.
Feist, G. J. (1998). A meta-analysis of personality on scientific and artistic creativity. Person-
ality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 290-309.
Fejfar, M. C., & Hoyle, R. H. (2000). Effect of private self-awareness on negative affect and
self-referent attribution: A quantitative review. Personality and Social Psychology Re-
view, 4, 132-142.
Goffman, E. (1967). Alienation from interaction. In Interaction ritual (pp. 113-136). Garden
City, NY: Anchor.
Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (1994). The role and development of self-regulation in the writ-
ing process. In D. H. Schunk & B. J. Zimmerman (Eds.), Self-regulation of learning and
performance (pp. 203-228). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Greenberg, J., & Musham, C. (1981). Avoiding and seeking self-focused attention. Journal of
Research in Personality, 15, 191-200.
Hass, R. G. (1984). Perspective-taking and self-awareness: Drawing an Eon your forehead.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 788-798.
Heckhausen, H. (1987). Emotional components of action: Their ontogeny as reflected in
achievement behavior. In D. Görlitz & J. F. Wohlwill (Eds.), Curiosity, imagination,
and play (pp. 326-348). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Hull, J. G. (1981). A self-awareness model of the causes and consequences of alcohol con-
sumption. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 90, 586-600.
Ickes, W. J., Wicklund, R. A., & Ferris, C. B. (1973). Objective self awareness and self esteem.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 9, 202-219.
Ingram, R. E. (1990). Self-focused attention in clinical disorders: Review and a conceptual
model. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 156-176.
Joireman, J. A., Parrott, L., III., & Hammersla, J. (2002). Empathy and the self-absorption
paradox: Support for the distinction between self-rumination and self-reflection.
Self and Identity, 1, 53-65.
Kagan,J. (1981). Thesecond year: The emergence of self-awareness. Cambridge, MA:Harvard.
Lewis, M. (1990). Self-knowledge and social development in early life. In L. A. Pervin (Ed.),
Handbook of personality (pp. 277-300). New York: Guilford.
Maddux, J. E., & Gosselin, J. T. (2003). Self-efficacy. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.),
Handbook of self and identity (pp. 218-238). New York: Guilford.
Martindale, C. (1999). Biological bases of creativity. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of cre-
ativity (pp. 137-152). New York: Cambridge.
May, R. (1967). Psychology and the human dilemma. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Mor, N., & Winquist, J. (2002). Self-focused attention and negative affect: A meta-analysis.
Psychological Bulletin, 128, 638-662.
Nix, G., Watson, C., Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (1995). Reducing depressive affect
through external focus of attention. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology,14, 36-52.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1991). Responses to depression and their effects on the duration of
depressive episodes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 569-585.
Plant,R. W., &Ryan, R.M.(1985). Intrinsic motivationand theeffects ofself-consciousness,
self-awareness, and ego-involvement: An investigation of internally controlling
styles. Journal of Personality, 53, 435-449.
Postmes, T., & Spears, R. (1998). Deindividuation and antinormative behavior: A
meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 123, 238-259.
Prentice-Dunn, S., & Rogers, R. W. (1989). Deindividuation and the self-regulation of be-
havior. In P. B. Paulus (Ed.), The psychology of group influence (2nd ed., pp. 87-109).
Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Pryor, J. B., Gibbons, F. X., Wicklund, R. A., Fazio, R. H., & Hood, R. (1977). Self-focused at-
tention and self-report validity. Journal of Personality, 45, 513-527.
Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (1987). Self-regulatory perseveration and the depressive
self-focusing style: A self-awareness theory of reactive depression. Psychological
Bulletin, 102, 122-138.
Pyszczynski, T., Hamilton, J. C., Greenberg, J., & Becker, S. E. (1991). Self-awareness and
psychological dysfunction. In C. R. Snyder & D. R. Forsyth (Eds.), Handbook of social
and clinical psychology (pp. 138-157). New York: Pergamon.
Rathunde, K. (1999). Systems approach. InM. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of cre-
ativity (pp. 605-609). New York: Academic Press.
Runco, M. A. (1991). Divergent thinking. Westport, CT: Greenwood.
Russ, S. W. (1993). Affect and creativity. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Schlenker, B. R. (2003). Self-presentation. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of
self and identity (pp. 492-518). New York: Guilford.
Shibutani, T. (1961). Society and personality: An interactionist approach to social psychology.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Silvia, P. J. (2002a). Self-awareness and emotional intensity. Cognition and Emotion, 16,
Silvia, P. J. (2002b). Self-awareness and the regulation of emotional intensity. Self and Iden-
tity, 1, 3-10.
Silvia, P. J. (in press). Exploring the psychology of interest. New York: Oxford University
Silvia, P. J., & Duval, T. S. (2001a). Predicting the interpersonal targets of self-serving attri-
butions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 333-340.
Silvia, P. J., & Duval, T. S. (2001b). Objective self-awareness theory: Recent progress anden-
during problems. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 230-241.
Silvia, P. J., & Duval, T. S. (2004). Self-awareness, self-motives, and self-motivation. In R. A.
Wright, J. Greenberg, & S. S. Brehm (Eds.), Motivation and emotion in social contexts.
(pp. 57-75). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Silvia, P. J., & Gendolla, G. H. E. (2001). On introspection and self-perception: Does self-fo-
cused attention enable accurate self-knowledge? Review of General Psychology, 5,
Smith, T. W., & Greenberg, J. (1981). Depression and self-focused attention. Motivation and
Emotion, 5, 323-331.
Snyder, C. R. (2000). The past and possible futures of hope. Journal of Social and Clinical Psy-
chology, 19, 11-28.
Spurr, J. M., & Stopa, L. (2002). Self-focused attention in social phobia and social anxiety.
Clinical Psychology Review, 22, 947-975.
Steenbarger, B. N., & Aderman, D. (1979). Objective self-awareness as a nonaversive state:
Effect of anticipating discrepancy reduction. Journal of Personality, 47, 330-339.
Stephenson, B., & Wicklund, R. A. (1983). Self-directed attention and taking the other’s per-
spective. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 19, 58-77.
Stephenson, B., & Wicklund, R. A. (1984). The contagion of self-focus within a dyad. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 163-168.
Szymanski, K., & Harkins, S. G. (1992). Self-evaluation and creativity. Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin, 18, 259-265.
Taylor, S. E., & Fiske, S. T. (1978). Salience, attention, and attribution: Top of the head phe-
nomena. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 11, 249-288.
Taylor, S. E., & Mettee, D. R. (1971). When similarity breeds contempt. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 20, 75-81.
Trapnell, P. D., & Campbell, J. D. (1999). Private self-consciousness and the five-factor
488 SILVIA AND O’BRIEN
model of personality: Distinguishing rumination from reflection. Journal of Personal-
ity and Social Psychology, 76, 284-304.
Wegner, D. M., & Schaefer, D. (1978). The concentration of responsibility: An objective
self-awareness analysis of group size effects in helping situations. Journal of Person-
ality and Social Psychology, 36, 147-155.
Weiner, B. (1985). An attributional model of achievement motivation and emotion. Psycho-
logical Review, 92, 548-573.
Wells, A., & Matthews, G. (1994). Attention and emotion: A clinical perspective. Hillsdale, NJ:
Wicklund, R. A. (1990). Zero-variable theories and the psychology of the explainer. New York:
Wicklund, R. A. (1999). Multiple perspectives in person perception and theorizing. Theory
and Psychology, 9, 667-678.
Woody, S. R. (1996). Effects of focus of attention on anxiety levels andsocial performance of
individuals with social phobia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, 61-69.