1989 Volume 29 Issue 1 Pages 35-43
The purpose of the experiment was to examine the effects of the presence of an observer on selfevaluating behavior and on heart rate in a choice reaction setting. Thirty-six university undergraduates were divided into two groups for the experiment. Group 1 (Alone) was administered in isolation a choice reaction task only. Group 2 (Observed) was given a choice reaction task under two different conditions, first with the subjects in isolation and second with the subjects in front of an audience. After the subjects had made a choice, they evaluated the accuracy of their own performance in a selfevaluation procedure. All subjects were asked to allow his or her pulse to be recorded via an earlobetip pulse sensor. Latency was found to be substantially longer in the presence of an audience in the case of self-evaluating (Fig. 1), especially when the subjects made self-rewarding responses (Fig. 2). Heart rate was found to be responsive to audience manipulations during the delay periods (Fig. 3). The results point to inadequacies in the drive theory of social facilitation and lend support to the self-presentation view, which proposes that subjects may administer self-praise more carefully when attempting to exhibit socially valued behavior in others' presence.