Self-consciousness and the overperception of self as a target

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Three studies, with 233 undergraduates, examined an egocentric bias toward overperceiving the self as the target of an action or event and the relation of this bias to dispositional self-consciousness. The 1st study found that, immediately prior to the return of their test results, Ss were more likely to believe that an especially good or an especially bad exam singled out by the teacher was theirs rather than a classmate's. In the 2nd study, Ss in a group experiment overestimated the likelihood that they, rather than another person in the group, had been chosen to participate in an experimental demonstration, regardless of whether the demonstration was described as enjoyable or unenjoyable. This study also found that the self-as-target bias was enhanced by public self-consciousness, as assessed by the Self-Consciousness Scale. The 3rd study showed that Ss high in public self-consciousness were more likely than those low in public self-consciousness to perceive hypothetical social situations as being relevant to or targeted toward themselves. Discussion focuses on the cognitive and motivational bases of the tendency to perceive the self as a target and the relation between self-consciousness and egocentric attributions.


Journal of Personality and Social Psychology





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