ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2009, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (01): 79-85.

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Illusion of Transparency between Individuals of High and Low Self-Monitoring

HU Jin-Sheng;YANG Li-Zhu   

  1. Department of Psychology,Liaoning Normal University,Dalian 116029, China
  • Received:2008-03-24 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2009-01-30 Online:2009-01-30
  • Contact: YANG Li-Zhu

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the differences in illusion of transparency between high and low self-monitoring individuals in reference to the experimental paradigm of “drinks recognition” by Gilovich, Savitsky, and Medvec (1998). It is hypothesized that: 1) the differences in impression management among the high and low self-monitoring individuals has influence on the strength of illusion of transparency, with a stronger illusion of transparency being demonstrated in low self-monitoring individuals than high self-monitoring individuals; 2) in face-to-face interactive situations between the subjects and audience, subjects with a high level of self-monitoring will show a stronger tendency to focus on subtle feedback from the audience, which may reduce their illusion of transparency.
Two experiments were designed to examine these hypotheses. A total of 42 subjects participated in experiment 1. Subjects that scored over 15 on the Self-Monitoring Scale (Snyder, 1974) were placed in the high self-monitoring group, and those scored under 9 were placed in the low self-monitoring group. The subjects were required to drink 5 cups of liquids (one of them was vinegar and the rest were water) without revealing the clues of the liquid types from their facial expressions. The drinking process was videotaped and shown to the audience who were requested to tell vinegar from water on the basis of the subjects’ facial expressions. The subjects were also asked to estimate the maximum number of correct distinctions between the vinegar and water that would be made by the 10 audience members. In experiment 2, the procedures and number of subjects were the same as experiment 1, except that the subjects performed in front of the audience instead of being videotaped.
Findings indicated that low self-monitoring subjects showed a higher level of illusion of transparency than that of the high–monitoring subjects. In comparison to the videotaped experiment, the individuals characterized as high self-monitors showed a further decline in illusion of transparency in face-to-face situations.
Possible explanations that the high self-monitoring group had a low level of illusion of transparency include the following: the high self-monitoring group, in comparison to the low self-monitoring group, might have tried harder to control their facial expressions and therefore may have experienced a lower level of anxiety. This could be caused by the fact that participants were more confident about their ability to control their facial expressions. Another possible explanation could be that participants were willing to take higher levels of risks regarding judgment. A final explanation could be that these participants observed the reaction of the audience in the face-to-face situation

Key words: illusion of transparency, self-monitoring, interactive situation

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