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Memory perspective and self-concept in social anxiety: An exploratory study

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The mental representation of self and observer perspective images are important maintaining factors in cognitive models of social phobia (Clark & Wells, 1995; Rapee & Heimberg, 1997). This study investigates Libby and Eibach's (2002) hypothesis that the observer perspective is used to recall memories that are incongruent with current self-concept. A total of 60 participants (divided into high and low social anxiety groups) completed a questionnaire in which they described current self-concept, recalled four memories of social occasions (two congruent, two incongruent), and rated memory age and vividness. Congruence was defined as memories that "fit" with current self-descriptions. A qualitative analysis of self-concept showed that both groups used a similar range of themes. High socially anxious participants recalled more observer perspective memories in the second incongruent memory. Congruence did not influence vividness, but public self-consciousness did. The implications of the results are discussed and suggestions made for future research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Southampton, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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