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Self-focused attention and reactions to fear

Authors
Journal
Journal of Research in Personality
0092-6566
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
15
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0092-6566(81)90002-7

Abstract

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.

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