Self-consciousness and bias in social interaction

Lloyd E. Sandelands1, Ralph E. Stablein2
1Columbia University, United States
2University of British Columbia, Canada
Cite this article:  Sandelands, L. E., & Stablein, R. E. (1986). Self-consciousness and bias in social interaction. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 14(2), 239-252.

Volume 14 Issue 2 | e504 | Published: August 1986 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1986.14.2.239

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Two studies were conducted to investigate whether trait differences in self-consciousness could account for egocentric attribution bias in social interaction. Study 1 examined the prediction that bias would be greater for high versus low self-conscious participants. This prediction was affirmed for the public form of self-consciousness. Study 2 then sought to replicate this effect and examine its generality. The prediction was that self-consciousness effects would be enhanced when social interaction was made salient as the cause of performance (interaction important condition) and would be diminished when social interaction was obscured as the cause of performance (interaction unimportant condition). As predicted, the biasing effect of public self-consciousness was replicated for controls. Also as predicted, public self-consciousness was found to have no effect in the inter-action unimportant condition. Contrary to prediction, however, the effect of public self-consciousness was reversed in the interaction important condition. Implications of these findings are discussed.


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