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Self-Awareness and Constructive Functioning: Revisiting ?the Human Dilemma?



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.
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.”
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
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-
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).
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
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
(Hass, 1984).
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
of self-control.
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
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.
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
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,
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
and avoid.
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
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.
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... For aspiring psychology professionals, including those who hope to become therapists, knowing one's weaknesses and strengths, and being able to work on these, is vital. Silvia and O'Brien (2004), note that self-awareness includes perspective-taking, understanding that others' views may differ from one's own. This insight may be instrumental in cross-cultural contexts, where clients and psychologists have differing worldviews. ...
... Although students reported greater awareness of personal attributes on which they needed to 'work' (i.e., improve), there was no sense of self-criticism in their discourse. Even though much of the past literature focuses on the negatives of self-awareness (e.g., increased anxiety), it also offers several positive outcomes such as perspective-taking, self-control, creative accomplishment, and pride/high self-esteem (Silvia & O'Brien, 2004). Students believed their development to be in their control, perhaps countering any adverse outcome of this new insight into perceived personal deficits. ...
... Students believed their development to be in their control, perhaps countering any adverse outcome of this new insight into perceived personal deficits. Of all the positive outcomes Silvia and O'Brien (2004) noted, perspective-taking may be particularly relevant for psychology students who plan to practice in a multicultural environment. With the simultaneous demands of academic workload and preparation for postgraduate study and future career, opportunities for selfreflection are rare among students in their final year of university. ...
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Background An increasing number of undergraduate positive psychology courses offer students a holistic view of the broader discipline of psychology. Even short-term participation in positive psychology activities as part of a taught course may improve psychological well-being and lower stress. However, there is a dearth of qualitative evidence on how students experience this learning process. Objective This study aimed to explore UAE-based undergraduate students’ reflections on their experiences of an elective positive psychology course and their participation in various positive psychology interventions (PPIs). Method This qualitative study explored 21 UAE-based undergraduate students’ reflections on taking a semester-long positive psychology course, in which they participated in PPIs. The rich data from semi-structured interviews were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis. Results Three main themes emerged, namely rethinking positive psychology, changes in perspective on happiness and search for positivity, and enhanced relationships. Conclusion and Teaching Implications The study suggests that positive psychology may reach past the time and space of the taught course and have at least a short-term positive impact on students' mental and social lives. Findings from this study imply the potential of positive psychology in higher education and point towards further integration of such courses in undergraduate programs in the UAE and beyond.
... Oleh karena itu, self awareness memiliki peran yang sangat penting dalam menurunkan kecemasan individu. Terdapat beberapa aspek yang mempengaruhi self awareness, di antaranya reasonable standards dan optimism (Silvia & O'Brien, 2004). Reasonable standard merupakan standar wajar yang dimiliki oleh seseorang sebagai patokan untuk menilai dirinya sendiri (Nugraheni, 2014). ...
... Salah satu hal yang sering dihadapi oleh mahasiswa akhir adalah tentang masa depan mereka. Optimisme akan masa depan dapat mempengaruhi reaksi diri terhadap kegagalan (Silvia & O'Brien, 2004). Ketika seseorang mengalami kegagalan, respon yang muncul dapat berupa respon konstruktif (meyakini bahwa individu harus berusaha dan berlatih lebih keras) atau destruktif (menyalahkan orang lain karena kegagalan yang dialami). ...
... Ketika seseorang mengalami kegagalan, respon yang muncul dapat berupa respon konstruktif (meyakini bahwa individu harus berusaha dan berlatih lebih keras) atau destruktif (menyalahkan orang lain karena kegagalan yang dialami). Memiliki sikap optimis terhadap kemampuan untuk dapat memenuhi standar yang telah dibuat dapat berkontribusi pada motivasi serta dapat mengurangi pengalaman kegagalan (Silvia & O'Brien, 2004). ...
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Kecemasan yang dialami mahasiswa tingkat akhir sebagian berada pada kategori berat hingga sangat berat. Kecemasan tersebut akan menimbulkan gejala fisik maupun gejala kognitif yang mempengaruhi performa pada mahasiswa tingkat akhir. Self awareness membuat seseorang menyadari perasaan cemas yang dimiliki dan menentukan langkah yang diambil kedepannya. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui peran self awareness terhadap kecemasan mahasiswa yang berada pada tingkat akhir. Subjek penelitian dilakukan pada 49 mahasiswa aktif tingkat akhir di salah satu perguruan tinggi. Penelitian ini menggunakan desain penelitian berupa korelasional. Alat ukur yang digunakan pada penelitian ini berupa skala skala self awareness yang disusun dari penelitian yang dilakukan oleh Nugraheni (2015) dan skala kecemasan dari skala Depression Anxiety Stres Scale (DASS), yang disusun oleh Lovibond dan Lovibond (1995) dan telah diterjemahkan oleh Damanik (2006). Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa self awareness diketahui memiliki korelasi negatif yang signifikan terhadap kecemasan mahasiswa tingkat akhir (p < 0.05). Self awareness memiliki sumbangan sebesar 10,1% terhadap kecemasan pada mahasiswa tingkat akhir. Berdasarkan analisis tambahan dalam penelitian ini, ditemukan bahwa dimensi self awareness yang berkorelasi negatif secara signifikan dengan kecemasan adalah dimensi self confidence. Dengan adanya hasil penelitian ini, maka diharapkan dapat menjadi referensi keilmuan terkait solusi atas permasalahan kecemasan pada mahasiswa tingkat akhir.
... But poor self-awareness might be the core need as improper self-awareness is linked with low performance in academics and other areas of life (Kay, 2017). Poor self-awareness might lead to poor decisions, vulnerability, disengagement, poor emotional management (Kay, 2017), low creativity, low confidence (Silvia & O'Brien, 2004), insufficient well-being in general and at work (Sutton et al., 2015). Poor self-awareness might arise from a number of factors but indigenously the over-emphasis on rote learning might be leading to flimsy self-awareness. ...
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Career guidance and counseling (CGC) is needed by many university students in Pakistan. Career service providers (CSPs) can offer appropriate services if they have a sound understanding of CGC needs of students. This study explores perspectives of CSPs working in Pakistani universities about career needs of their students, services offered to their students and the challenges encountered in this process. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with seven CSPs working in two major cities of Pakistan were carried out. Thematic analysis revealed variety of needs (like self-awareness, decision making), services (like one to one counseling, career fairs, seminars) and multiple challenges (like unrealistic expectations of students, insufficient resources) regarding CGC. Results are discussed along with thematic maps. Research implies that CSPs could expand and promote their services; CGC could be customized as per local community needs; parental concerns could be dealt with CGC; CGC could be aligned with academia as well as industry. Future research could look into planning, execution, impact and comparisons of indigenous CGC services.
This first chapter of Part II outlines the key features of Stage 1 and shares a selection of helpful concepts, frameworks, and tools for gaining greater self-insight. Opportunities will be provided for you to have a go at some for yourself. An understanding of how to use this stage to good effect will be gained, providing the basis for Stage 2 and the rest of the model.
Psikolojide neyin bilgi değeri taşıdığı ve ne tür konuların araştırılabileceği, içinde bulunulan dönemin yansımalarından etkilenebilmektedir. Neoliberalizmin sosyopolitik düzlemi yeni bir psişe anlatısı ortaya koymuştur. Bu psişe anlatımı doğrultusunda, neoliberal sistem benliğe yönelik bilgiyi ve öyküyü yeniden yapılandırmıştır. Bu çalışmada, neoliberal politikaların psikoloji ve daha özelde de psikolojik danışma alanında yansımaları tartışılmıştır. İlgili yazın incelendiğinde mikro tahakküm alanı olarak birey/ özne, mikro tahakküm biçimi olarak içselleştirilmiş disiplin ve psikolojinin çeşitli yöntemlerle piyasalaşması ya da bireyliğin piyasalaştırılması temaları üzerinde durulmuştur. Ayrıca neoliberal sistemde benliğin yeniden yapılandırılma biçimi incelenmiş, İçsel disipline etme sürecinde benliğe ve duygulara değinilmiştir. Psikolojik danışma alanında bireyin özerkliği ve pozitif gelişiminin sosyal adalet paradigmasıyla bütünleştirilmesinin gereğine vurgu yapılmıştır. Neoliberalizm bağlamındaki eleştirel yazın çerçevesinde oluşturulan bu temaların psikolojik danışma alanına olası yansımaları ele alınmış, sosyal adalet paradigması çerçevesinde psikolojik danışma alanına yönelik önerilere dikkat çekilmiştir. Güçlülük temelli müdahalelerde, iyi oluşun yanında benliğe yönelik neoliberal baskıdan özgürleşme vurgusu yapılmıştır.
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University teachers in Bangladesh and Nigeria, in general, are novices in using modern technologies such as Google classroom in the teaching learning process. This study aims to explore teachers’ attitudes towards the use of Google classroom and investigate the factors that influence the teachers’ acceptance and behavioural intentions to use it as a learning management system. A quantitative method has been used to examine the teachers’ acceptance of Google classroom based on a simplified technology acceptance model (TAM) in two universities located in Bangladesh and Nigeria. The study reveals that Bangladeshi teachers have a higher positive attitude towards accepting this platform compared to Nigerian teachers. Besides, Nigerian teachers are impacted significantly by the technology challenges during its use. The findings of this study inform educators of the key aspects of Google classroom use which could enable them to effectively adopt it during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent years, there has been an increased scientific interest in the area of emotional intelligence, specifically emotion regulation, as well as the field of positive psychology. Because of the vital role emotion regulation plays in enhancing individuals’ overall well-being, I suggest that it is crucial to connect the two disciplines. This paper conducts a literature review, introduces an overview of positive psychology, the science of well-being, and summarizes existing emotional intelligence and emotion regulation models. It then finds how theories and applications in positive psychology interrelate with research in emotion regulation—suggesting strategies on how to best respond to external and internal stimuli in a manner that maintains one’s overall well-being. I conclude this paper by comparing psychological findings around emotion regulation to parallel religious principles in Islam.
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Sosyal medya dendiği zaman “insanlar tek başlarına iken de sosyal midir yoksa sadece başkalarıyla etkileşime girdiklerinde mi sosyal olurlar?” şeklinde bir soru akıllara gelebilir. “Sosyal” kavramının farklı anlamları olduğunu söyleyebiliriz. Bazıları, tüm medyanın sosyal olduğunu çünkü toplumun bir parçası olduklarını ve kullandığımız teknolojik araçların topluma dair bazı yönlerini barındırdığını söylemektedir (Mayfield, 2008). Bu, bilgisayarın önünde tek başına oturulsa ve internete bağlı olmadan açılan dosyaya bir şeyler yazılsa bile, bu faaliyetlerin tamamen sosyal olduğu anlamına gelir. Düşünülen ve yazılan fikirler diğer insanların fikirlerine atıfta bulunur. Bilgisayarda bulunan yazı dosyalarının tümünün insanlar tarafından belirli nedenlerle ve belirli çalışma koşulları altında tasarlanmış belirli özellikleri ve işlevleri vardır. Bu özellik ve işlevler insanlığın ortak bilişsel işlevleri arasında bağ kurmak üzere bir araçtır. Dolayısıyla farklı öznelerde ortak anlamları olan biliş, sosyal bir aktivitedir. Kullanılan bilgisayar bir ülkede monte edilmiş olabilir ve bileşenlerinin yapıldığı hammaddeler başka bir ülkedeki madenlerden gelebilir. Bilgisayar için harcanan tüm emeği göremeyiz, ancak yine de belirli çalışma koşullarındaki insanlar tarafından toplumda yaratılmış bir araçtır.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of self-other rating agreement (SOA) on ethical decisions and behavior. Design/methodology/approach A sample of 169 students (60 women and 109 men) enrolled in a part-time, regional MBA program was divided into three SOA categories: (1) Self-aware, individuals whose self-ratings matched observer ratings, (2) Underraters, those whose self-ratings were lower than observer ratings and (3) Overraters, individuals whose self-ratings were higher than other ratings. Ethical behavior was evaluated with the completion of a managerial in-basket assessment. Findings The results revealed that ethical behavior varied by SOA, with underraters exhibiting the highest levels of ethical behavior, followed by self-aware (i.e. accurate) and then overraters. One of the intriguing results is that underraters displayed more ethical behaviors than accurate raters, raising questions about the use of accurate self-assessments as an indicator of personal and professional effectiveness. Originality/value The results indicate that organizations should consider SOA in their human resource processes because it has important implications for employee training, selection and promotion. While prior research has examined the effect of SOA on performance, commitment and leadership perceptions, the authors contribute to the literature by examining whether SOA influences actual ethical decisions and actions.
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In this chapter a theory of motivation and emotion developed from an attributional perspective is presented. Before undertaking this central task, it might be beneficial to review the progression of the book. In Chapter 1 it was suggested that causal attributions have been prevalent throughout history and in disparate cultures. Studies reviewed in Chapter 2 revealed a large number of causal ascriptions within motivational domains, and different ascriptions in disparate domains. Yet some attributions, particularly ability and effort in the achievement area, dominate causal thinking. To compare and contrast causes such as ability and effort, their common denominators or shared properties were identified. Three causal dimensions, examined in Chapter 3, are locus, stability, and controllability, with intentionality and globality as other possible causal properties. As documented in Chapter 4, the perceived stability of a cause influences the subjective probability of success following a previous success or failure; causes perceived as enduring increase the certainty that the prior outcome will be repeated in the future. And all the causal dimensions, as well as the outcome of an activity and specific causes, influence the emotions experienced after attainment or nonattainment of a goal. The affects linked to causal dimensions include pride (with locus), hopelessness and resignation (with stability), and anger, gratitude, guilt, pity, and shame (with controllability).
Tested an attentional model of fear-based behavior with 44 undergraduates. It was predicted that among Ss with moderate fear of snakes, heightened self-attention during an approach attempt would cause increased awareness of existing anxiety, followed by 1 of 2 courses of events: Ss who believed that they could do the behavior in spite of their fear were expected to redirect their attention to the behavior-goal comparison and exhibit no behavioral deficit. Ss who doubted their ability to do the behavior were expected to divert their attention from the behavior-goal comparison and to withdraw behaviorally from the approach attempt. Results support this reasoning and discussion centers on relationships between the proposed model and previous theory. (27 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Self-awareness - the ability to recognize one's existence - is one of the most important variables in psychology. Without self-awareness, people would be unable to self-reflect, recognize differences between the self and others, or compare themselves with internalized standards. Social, clinical, and personality psychologists have recognized the significance of self-awareness in human functioning, and have conducted much research on how it participates in everyday life and in psychological dysfunctions. Self-Awareness & Causal Attribution: A Dual-Systems Theory presents a new theory of how self-awareness affects thought, feeling, and action. Based on experimental social-psychological research, the authors describe how several interacting cognitive systems determine the links between self-awareness and organized activity. This theory addresses when people become self-focused, how people internalize and change personal standards, when people approach or avoid troubling situations, and the nature of self-evaluation. Special emphasis is given to causal attribution, the process of perceiving causality. Self-Awareness & Causal Attribution will be useful to social, clinical, and personality psychologists, as well as to anyone interested in how the self relates to motivation and emotion.
Evidence for the self-serving bias (attributing success internally and failure externally) is inconsistent. Although internal success attributions are consistently found, researchers find both internal and external attributions for failure. The authors explain these disparate effects by considering the intersection of 2 systems, a system comparing self against standards and a causal attribution system. It was predicted that success and failure attributions are moderated by self-awareness and by the ability to improve. When self-focus is high (a) success is attributed internally, (b) failure is attributed internally when people can improve, (c) failure is attributed externally when people cannot improve, and (d) these attributions affect state self-esteem. Implications for the self-serving bias are discussed.
Self-focused attention has been linked to social anxiety and poor social performance, but the causal direction of this relationship has not been established. For this study, focus of attention was manipulated during a speech task, conducted in pairs for 38 individuals with generalized social phobia. Results indicated that intensifying self-focused attention increased anticipated anxiety and anxious appearance, regardless of whether the individual was giving a speech or passively standing before the audience. The self-focus manipulation also increased self-reported anxiety during the task, but only for individuals assigned to a passive role. Contrary to expectation, self-focused attention did not affect any measure of social performance. These results indicate that self-focused attention may play a causal role in exacerbating social anxiety.
Assessed whether lack of self-awareness and conscious planning, group unity, and disinhibited behavior occurred together in deindividuating settings as predicted by E. Diener's (1979) theory of deindividuation. The characteristics and effects of group-induced deindividuation with non-socially-induced non-self-awareness was also compared. The 3 conditions were deindividuated, non-self-aware, and self-aware. After the manipulations, 126 undergraduates chose inhibited vs disinhibited tasks in a supposed "creativity" session, followed by a variety of deindividuation measures. Results reveal that the deindividuation group surpassed the other 2 on the deindividuation factor and on most of the individual measures. For some of the variables, the deindividuation and non-self-aware groups differed significantly, suggesting that deindividuation may not be identical in every respect to lack of self-awareness induced in a non-social way. (35 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
This chapter discusses the social psychologists study “top of the head” phenomena in their experimental investigations. Attention within the social environment is selective. It is drawn to particular features of the environment either as a function of qualities intrinsic to those features (such as light or movement) or as a function of the perceiver's own dispositions and temporary need states. These conditions are outlined in the chapter. As a result of differential attention to particular features, information about those features is more available to the perceiver. Relative to the quantity of information retained about other features, more is retained about the salient features. When the salient person is the self, the same effects occur, and the individual is also found to show more consistency in attitudes and behaviors. These processes may occur primarily in situations which are redundant, unsurprising, uninvolving, and unarousing. They seem to occur automatically and substantially without awareness, and as such, they differ qualitatively from the intentional, conscious, controlled kind of search which characterizes all the behavior.