Amusement and the effect of self-consciousness : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)
Self-awareness is thought to be a factor in any behavior. Self-consciousness is the dispositional tendency to be self-aware. There are two kinds of self-consciousness. Private self-consciousness is the tendency to attend to one's inner feelings and emotions. Public self-consciousness is the tendency to focus more on the self as a social object. Private self-consciousness is predicted to a) intensify experienced emotion and to b) increase consistency of self-report measures and exhibited behavior. These hypotheses were tested by having subjects view 24 cartoons, while they rated the funniness of the cartoons and experimenters rated subjects' facial expressions of amusement. Private self-consciousness was correlated positively with facial expression but not the self rating of cartoon funniness. For those higher in self-consciousness, facial expression and cartoon funniness did positively correlate more strongly. Public self-consciousness had a weak effect on facial expression.