Paranoia and Self-Consciousness

Allan Fenigstein, Peter A. Vanable

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

475 Scopus citations


A new instrument designed to assess paranoid thought in college students, together with reliability and validity data, was presented in Study 1. A single general factor accounted for a substantial portion of the variance in the full scale. Public self-consciousness was consistently and significantly correlated with the present measure of paranoia. In Study 2, both pretested paranoia and public self-consciousness were related to feelings of being watched (a classical manifestation of paranoia), although public self-consciousness had an effect only when there was a 2-way mirror present. In Study 3, self-attention, experimentally induced using a story construction task, again resulted in a heightened sense of being observed. Discussion focuses on paranoid cognition as characteristic of everyday thought and the implications of self-attention for social perception processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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