Abstract Two studies were conducted to study the effect of self-focused attention on behavioral responses to fear. In Experiment 1, phobics and nonphobics were asked to approach and hold a snake either in the presence of a mirror or with no mirror. In Experiment 2, high and low private self-conscious subjects were asked to submit to a series of either mild or strong electric shock for humanitarian reasons. In each case, self-directed attention caused increased responsivity to the fearful affect and made subjects more likely to withdraw from the situation, regardless of the fact that a behavioral standard existed which called for an opposite response. The theoretical and behavioral implications of the findings were discussed.