Another Look At the Relation Between Private Self-Consciousness and Self-Attribution
Journal of Research in Personality
The clear picture that emerges from studies of private self-consciousness is that this variable is associated with detailed and accurate self-knowledge. High levels of private self-consciousness also lead to behavior that is consistent with one's attitudes. In light of this characterization of the high private self-conscious person, it is surprising that one study reported that such people are more susceptible to an attributional bias. D. M. Buss and M. F. Scheier (1976, Journal of Research in Personality, 10, 463–468) suggested that the habitual self-focus of private self-conscious individuals would lead them to attribute their positive and negative outcomes to internal causes, and their data support these predictions. This potential contradiction in the literature was examined in three studies. Each study was a nearly exact or conceptual replication of the experiment of Buss and Scheier. In none of the studies did persons high in private self-consciousness make more internal attributions for events than those low in private self-consciousness. Various replication statistics were conducted, each showing that the attributional bias phenomenon reported by Buss and Scheier cannot be corroborated. The implications of these findings were discussed.