Objective self-awareness as a nonaversive state: Effect of anticipating discrepancy reduction



The possibility that self-aware subjects in previous objective sell-awareness studies displayed heightened negative affect and avoidance reactions because they were made to focus on permanent negative discrepancies was investigated in the present research. Subjects were first induced to regard a negative real-ideal discrepancy as either permanent or reducible in size, and then were either made or not made objectively self-aware. As expected, those self-aware subjects who anticipated no reduction in discrepancy size were found to be more negative in mood and quicker to exit from the experimental room than were their counterparts in the other three conditions. It was concluded that self-focused attention only generates aversive reactions when it brings to awareness a negative real-ideal discrepancy which the individual feels cannot be altered.