Self-Awareness Part 1: Definition, Measures, Effects, Functions, and Antecedents



Self-awareness represents the capacity of becoming the object of one’s own attention. In this state one actively identifies, processes, and stores information about the self. This paper surveys the self-awareness literature by emphasizing definition issues, measurement techniques, effects and functions of self-attention, and antecedents of self-awareness. Key self-related concepts (e.g., minimal, reflective consciousness) are distinguished from the central notion of self-awareness. Reviewed measures include questionnaires, implicit tasks, and self-recognition. Main effects and functions of self-attention consist in self-evaluation, escape from the self, amplification of one’s subjective experience, increased self-knowledge, self-regulation, and inferences about others’ mental states (Theory-of-Mind). A neurocognitive and socioecological model of self-awareness is described in which the role of face-to-face interactions, reflected appraisals, mirrors, media, inner speech, imagery, autobiographical knowledge, and neurological structures is underlined.