Open Access Repository

Negative and normal self-schemata : content differences and processing influence

Miller, Robyn 1986 , 'Negative and normal self-schemata : content differences and processing influence', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

[img] PDF (Whole thesis)
whole_MillerRob...pdf | Request a copy
Full text restricted
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


Social cognition suggests that self-schemata (cognitive
structures of self-knowledge) guide the processing of
personal information and facilitate recognition of self
relevant evidence. Likewise, negative self-schemata are
thought to bias recognition toward negative personal
information in cognitive depression and performance
anxiety. Research aims were to specify how negative and
normal self-schemata differ, and to examine self-schema processing influence.
Self-schemata constitute an active, conceptually-driven process which enhances the discriminability of favoured evidence. Bias can also arise from a passive, stimulusdriven process due to lower recognition thresholds for favoured evidence. A yes/no decision task was used for investigating schemata by determining sensitivity and response latency for personal descriptor content. Experiments 1 to 3 compared negative and normal schematics. Descriptors varied in pleasantness and relevance to personal competence. Self-ratings showed that negative schematics had superior discrimination for competence whereas normal schematics had superior discrimination for pleasantness. Negative self-percept reflected incompetence, not unpleasantness. Normal characterization reflected marked self-enhancement.
Role-reversal ratings maintained the sensitivity
differences observed for self-ratings. Response latencies consistently indicated effects resulting from stimulus
driven processes and not schema-driven influence. Experiments 4 and 5 compared subjects with or without a self-schema for a normal personality dimension.
Self-rating discrimination of test descriptors was
greater for schematics yet this superiority vanished for vignette-rating which dissociated self-schema influence
from discriminative ability. Response latencies largely indicated effects resulting from stimulus-driven
processes but a slight residue of schema-driven influence was also obtained for self-judgements.
Experiment 6 used a word naming task and presented variously degraded personal and impersonal descriptors. Schema-relevant items were named more rapidly and
accurately than impersonal and schema-irrelevant items.
Schema-driven processing was the more probable source of the effect.
Choice decision latency data were reanalysed to determine
how a word relevance bias related to a word frequency
bias. A cross-over interaction resulted for self-rating
schematic subjects whereby the normal frequency effect
reversed for self-irrelevant words. Despite considering various processing models, this outcome defied
explanation. Reversal of the frequency effect occurs in recognition memory performance and similar processes were
possibly implicated in self-rating. Major findings were firstly that competence information
has more salience for negative schematics. Secondly, judgement latencies show little schema-driven influence.
Finally, a self-relevance bias probably results from schema-driven processing in which case, processing of
relevant evidence is highly accurate.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Miller, Robyn
Keywords: Self-evaluation, Personality assessment
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1986 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1987. Bibliography: leaves 223-230

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page