ERIC Number: ED167898
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug-30
Self-Awareness, Self-Concern and Prosocial Behavior.
Gibbons, Frederick X.
Contrary to expectations, self-awareness inhibited reactions to a salient norm of social responsibility in two experiments which tested the hypothesis that directing attention to the self would lead to an increase in helping behavior. The reason, apparently, was that self-awareness interfered with the empathy process. Concerned about themselves and their own problems, the subjects were less willing to help a dependent other. A third experiment examined reactions to a salient norm of reciprocity under conditions that did not promote self-concern. The results of this experiment indicated that self-awareness does promote behavior that is consistent with an internalized standard of equity or reciprocity (that is, helping after receiving some form of help) when subjects are not involved with their own problems. In situations where a person has no basis for self-concern, for instance, a success experience of some kind, self-focused attention does enhance prosocial behavior. Otherwise, self-awareness promotes a state very similar to self-concern in which the person is unwilling to empathize and unlikely to help. (Author/BN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Assocation (86th, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August, 1978)