Self-esteem, self-consciousness, and task performance: Replications, extensions, and possible explanations

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Previous research has suggested that the task performance of low self-esteem individuals (low SEs) is impaired under conditions designed to increase self-focused attention. Task-focusing, rather than self-focusing, manipulations have actually bolstered the achievement of low SEs. The results of the present 2 experiments with 207 undergraduates demonstrated that the performance of low SEs on a concept formation task was affected by a variety of attentional manipulations. As before, task-focusing instructions enhanced and self-focusing stimuli impaired their performance on a concept formation task (Study 1). Similar results were obtained for Ss who scored high (but not for those who scored low) on an individual difference measure of self-consciousness. Study 2 also demonstrated that when the task-focusing manipulation worked, it neutralized the adverse effects of the self-focusing stimulus on the low SEs' performance. Supplementary data suggested that the manipulations generally had their intended effects on attentional focus and that attentional focus influenced performance. (27 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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