Thursday, July 15, 2010


Self-monitoring is a contribution to the psychology of personality, proposed by Mark Snyder in 1974. The theory refers to the process through which people regulate their own behavior in order to "look good" so that they will be perceived by others in a favorable manner. It distinguishes between high self-monitors, who monitor their behavior to fit different situations, and low self-monitors, who are more cross-situationally consistent. Snyder designed a questionnaire to assess self-monitoring called the Self-Monitoring Scale, based on the assumption that high self-monitoring could be defined as consisting of:
  1. High concern with the social appropriateness of one's actions;
  2. Use of social comparison information;
  3. Ability to monitor one's behavior to fit different situations;
  4. Ability to do this in specific situations;
  5. Trait variability
On his original version of the Self-Monitoring Scale, he found that Stanford University students scored significantly higher than psychiatric inpatients, but significantly lower than people in the acting profession. The theory is of interest in that it makes an original contribution to the debate on traits versus situationism. It effectively says that trait consistency can be found in low self-monitors, whereas a situationist framework is more appropriate for high self-monitors. Subsequent research using the self-monitoring scale, in which it has been analysed usingfactor analysis, has questioned whether the scale really - as Snyder believed - measures a homogeneous concept.

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