Self-monitoring and the use of consensus information

Authors

  • James A. Kulik,

    Corresponding author
    1. Harvard University
      Requests for reprints should he sent to James A. Kulik, Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California.
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  • Shelley E. Taylor

    1. Harvard University
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    • 1

      The authors would like to thank Charles Judd and Jennifer Cracker for their helpful comments. This research was supported by NSF Grant BNS 77-09922 to the second author.


Requests for reprints should he sent to James A. Kulik, Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California.

Abstract

This study investigated how individual differences in level of self-monitoring relate to the use of consensus information. We predicted that higher self-monitors would utilize consensus information more than would low self-monitors when making predictions about their own and another person's behavior, since high self-monitors are theoretically more responsive to the social norms surrounding situations. Low self-monitors, in contrast, were expected to rely more on self-based consensus. Subjects read a description of Darley and Latané's (1968) bystander intervention study in which the participants purportedly rarely helped the victim (socially undesirable consensus) or frequently helped the victim (socially desirable consensus). As predicted, higher relative to lower self-monitors predicted slower helping when consensus was for nonhelping. The prediction that higher relative to lower self-monitors would predict faster helping when consensus was for helping, although in the right direction, was not supported strongly. Evidence was found for the prediction that low self-monitors rely to a greater extent on self-based consensus.

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