A self-novelty manipulation of self-focused attention for Internet and laboratory experiments

  • Paul J. SilviaEmail author
  • Jan EichstaedtEmail author


Conventional manipulations of self-focused attention are poorly suited for Internet experiments and for group-based administration. The authors present a self-novelty manipulation that effectively induces self-awareness for such contexts. In the high self-focus condition, people write about how they differ from their family and friends and from people in general. In the control conditions, people write about neutral topics or do no writing. Three experiments using different measures of self-focus (the situational self-awareness scale, a pronoun selection task, and the private self-consciousness scale) showed that the self-novelty manipulation significantly increased self-focused attention. This effect appeared in Internet-based experiments (Experiment 1) and in laboratory experiments with groups (Experiments 2 and 3). The self-novelty manipulation appears promising for self-awareness research conducted outside of conventional laboratory contexts.


Behavior Research Method Experimental Social Psychology Writing Task Social Psychology Bulletin Data Submission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Birnbaum, M. H. (2001).Introduction to behavioral research on the Internet. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  2. 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.Google Scholar
  3. Carver, C. S., &Scheier, M. F. (1978). Self-focusing effects of dispositional self-consciousness, mirror presence, and audience presence.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,36,324–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Davis, D., &Brock, T. C. (1975). Use of first-person pronouns as a function of increased objective self-awareness and performance feedback.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,11,381–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davis, R. N. (1999). Web-based administration of a personality questionnaire: Comparison with traditional methods.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,31,572–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Duval, T. S., &Lalwani, N. (1999). Objective self-awareness and causal attributions for self-standard discrepancies: Changing self or changing standards of correctness.Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin,25,1220–1229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Duval, T. S., &Silvia, P. J. (2001).Self-awareness and causal attribution: A dual-systems theory. Boston: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  8. Duval, T. S., &Silvia, P. J. (2002). Self-awareness, probability of improvement, and the self-serving bias.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,82,49–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Duval, T. S., &Wicklund, R. A. (1972).A theory of objective self-awareness. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  10. Duval, T. S., &Wicklund, R. A. (1973). Effects of objective self-awareness on attributions of causality.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,9,17–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eichstaedt, J. (2002). Measuring differences in pre-activation on the Internet: The content category superiority effect.Experimental Psychology,49, 283–291.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Eichstaedt, J. (2003).Magnifying the effects of word familiarity and prototypicality on visual word recognition: A dynamic display for Internet-based experiments. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  13. Eichstaedt, J., &Silvia, P. J. (2003). Noticing the self: Implicit assessment of self-focused attention using word recognition latencies.Social Cognition,21, 349–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F., &Buss, A. H. (1975). Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory.Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology,43,522–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Geller, V., &Shaver, P. (1976). Cognitive consequences of self-awareness.Journal of Experimental Psychology,12, 99–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Govern, J. M., &Marsch, L. A. (2001). Development and validation of the situational self-awareness scale.Consciousness & Cognition,10,366–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hyatt, C. W., &Hopkins, W. D. (1994). Self-awareness in bonobos and chimpanzees: A comparative perspective. In S. T. Parker, R. W. Mitchell, & M. L. Boccia (Eds.),Self-awareness in animals and humans (pp. 248–253). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ickes, W. J., Wicklund, R. A., &Ferris, C. B. (1973). Objective self awareness and self esteem.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,9,202–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ingram, R. E. (1990). Self-focused attention in clinical disorders: Review and a conceptual model.Psychological Bulletin,107,156–176.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kieley, J. M. (1996). CGI scripts: Gateways to World-Wide Web power.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,28, 165–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Koffka, K. (1935).Principles of Gestalt psychology. New York: Harcourt, Brace.Google Scholar
  22. Krantz, J. H., &Eagley, B. M. (1996). Creating psychological tutorials on the World-Wide Web.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,28,156–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mayer, F. S., Duval, T. S., Holtz, R., &Bowman, C. (1985). Self-focus, helping request salience, felt responsibility, and helping behavior.Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin,11,133–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Morse, D. T. (1999). MINSIZE2: A computer program for determining minimum sample size for statistical significance for univariate, multivariate, and nonparametric tests.Educational & Psychological Measurement,59,518–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mullen, B. (1983). Operationalizing the effect of the group on the individual: A self-attention perspective.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,19,295–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. O’Neil, K. M., &Penrod, S. D. (2001). Methodological variables in Web-based research that may affect results: Sample type, monetary incentives, and personal information.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,33,226–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. O’Neil, K. M., Penrod, S. D., &Bornstein, B. H. (2003). Web-based research: Methodological variables’ effects on dropout and sample characteristics.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,35,217–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Osberg, T. M. (1985). Order effects in the administration of personality measures: The case of the Self-Consciousness Scale.Journal of Personality Assessment,49,536–540.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pasveer, K. A., &Ellard, J. H. (1998). The making of a personality inventory: Help from the WWW.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,30,309–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pettit, F. A. (2002). A comparison of World-Wide Web and paper- and-pencil personality questionnaires.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,34,50–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Postmes, T., &Spears, R. (1998). Deindividuation and antinormative behavior: A meta-analysis.Psychological Bulletin,123,238–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Postmes, T., Spears, R., &Lea, M. (1998). Breaching or building social boundaries? SIDE-effects of computer-mediated communication.Communication Research,25,689–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Povinelli, D. J., &Prince, C. G. (1998). When self met other. In M. Ferrari & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.),Self-awareness: Its nature and development (pp. 37–107). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  34. Reips, U.-D. (2002a). Internet-based psychological experimenting: Five dos and five don’ts.Social Science Computer Review,20,241–249.Google Scholar
  35. Reips, U.-D. (2002b). Standards for Internet-based experimenting.Experimental Psychology,49, 243–256.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Schwartz, A. (1998). Tutorial: Perl, a psychologically efficient reformatting language.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,30,605–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Silvia, P. J. (2001). Nothing or the opposite: Intersecting terror management and objective self-awareness.European Journal of Personality,15,73–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Silvia, P. J. (2002a). Self-awareness and emotional intensity.Cognition & Emotion,16,195–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Silvia, P. J. (2002b). Self-awareness and the regulation of emotional intensity.Self & Identity,1,3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Silvia, P. J., &Abele, A. E. (2002). Can positive affect induce self-focused attention? Methodological and measurement issues.Cognition & Emotion,16,845–853.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Silvia, P. J., &Duval, T. S. (2001a). Objective self-awareness theory: Recent progress and enduring problems.Personality & Social Psychology Review,5,230–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Silvia, P. J., &Duval, T. S. (2001b). Predicting the interpersonal targets of self-serving attributions.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,37,333–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Silvia, P. J., &Duval, T. S. (2004). Self-awareness, self-motives, and self-motivation. In R. A. Wright, J. Greenberg, & S. S. Brehm (Eds.),Motivational analyses of social behavior: Building on Jack Brehm’s contributions to psychology (pp. 57–75). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  44. Silvia, P. J., &Phillips, A. G. (2004). Self-awareness, self-evaluation, and creativity.Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin,30,1009–1017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Snow, C. J., Duval, T. S., & Silvia, P. J. (in press). When the self stands out: Figure—ground effects on self-focused attention.Self & Identity.Google Scholar
  46. Spurr, J. M., &Stopa, L. (2002). Self-focused attention in social phobia and social anxiety.Clinical Psychology Review,22,947–975.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wegner, D. M., &Giuliano, T. (1980). Arousal-induced attention to self.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,38,719–726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wegner, D. M., &Giuliano, T. (1983). On sending artifact in search of artifact: Reply to McDonald, Harris, and Maher.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,44,290–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wegner, D. M., &Schaefer, D. (1978). The concentration of responsibility: An objective self-awareness analysis of group size effects in helping situations.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,36, 147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wicklund, R. A., &Duval, T. S. (1971). Opinion change and performance facilitation as a result of objective self-awareness.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,7, 319–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wood, J. V., Saltzberg, J. A., &Goldsamt, L. A. (1990). Does affect induce self-focused attention?Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,58,899–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North CarolinaGreensboro
  2. 2.Universität der Bundeswehr HamburgHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations