Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Spotlight Effect, 2

Thomas Gilovich and Kenneth Savitsky reportedly coined the term “spotlight effect,” in 1999, although behaviors related to this phenomenon had been described earlier than that. What are some of those behaviors? When individuals are anxious about something they tend to overestimate the extent to which their anxiety is obvious to onlookers. When an individual is embarrassed by something (e.g., a run in one’s stocking, a tear in one’s shirt), the likelihood of the spotlight effect rearing its head is increased. The timing of the incident also plays a part. Immediate exposure increases the spotlight effect, while delayed exposure decreases it. Psychologists at Cornell University reportedly asked study participants to wear an embarrassing T-shirt and then estimate how many people noticed what they were wearing. The participant estimates were twice as high as the actual number. More tomorrow.

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