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Self-Monitoring Behavior

 

Explanations > Theories > Self-Monitoring Behavior

Description | ResearchExample | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

Some people are sensitive to how other see them, whilst others are not.

People who are high self-monitors constantly watch other people, what they do and how they respond to the behavior of others. Such people are hence very self-conscious and like to 'look good' and will hence usually adapt well to differing social situations.

On the other hand, low self-monitors are generally oblivious to how other see them and hence march to their own different drum.

Research

White and Gerstein (1987) told people the Kitty Genovese story (see Bystander Effect) and also told half the people that helping others got you social rewards. They also took a test to find high and low self-monitors. Later, they asked for volunteers to help visually impaired people. Results were:

  • Told about social reward: High self-monitors 80%, Low self-monitors 48%
  • Not told about social reward: High self-monitors 40%, Low self-monitors 68%

Example

Have you ever been to a club and seen some people dancing with wild abandon whilst other shuffle nonchalantly? The wild dancers are low self-monitors, whilst the shufflers are probably high self-monitors.

So what?

Using it

Appeal to high self-monitors by telling them that they will look good and get social approval for what you want them to do.

In advertising, high self-monitors respond more to image-based ads that promise to make them look good, whilst low self-monitors respond better to product-based ads and prefer high quality goods.

Defending

Are you a high or low self-monitor? Do you conform to the above response to appeals? Think about what other people are trying to get you to do before reacting.

See also

Informational Social Influence, Self-Evaluation Maintenance Theory, Self-Discrepancy Theory, Self-Perception Theory, Self-Verification Theory

References

Snyder (1974), Snyder and Gangestad (1986)

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