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Effects of being watched on self-referential processing, self-awareness and prosocial behaviour

Cañigueral, R; Hamilton, AFDC; (2019) Effects of being watched on self-referential processing, self-awareness and prosocial behaviour. Consciousness and Cognition , 76 , Article 102830. 10.1016/j.concog.2019.102830.

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Abstract

Reputation management theory suggests that our behaviour changes in the presence of others to signal good reputation (audience effect). However, the specific cognitive mechanisms by which being watched triggers these changes are poorly understood. Here we test the hypothesis that these changes happen because the belief in being watched increases self-referential processing. We used a novel deceptive video-conference paradigm, where participants believe a video-clip is (or is not) a live feed of a confederate watching them. Participants completed four tasks measuring self-referential processing, prosocial behaviour and self-awareness under these two belief settings. Although the belief manipulation and self-referential effect task were effective, there were no changes on self-referential processing between the two settings, nor on prosocial behaviour and self-awareness. Based on previous evidence and these findings, we propose that further research on the role of the self, social context and personality traits will help elucidating the mechanisms underlying audience effects.

Type: Article
Title: Effects of being watched on self-referential processing, self-awareness and prosocial behaviour
Location: United States
DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2019.102830
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2019.102830
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Audience effect, Being watched, Reputation management, Self-referential processing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086311
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