Essay on The Spotlight Effect: Social Psychology Phenomenon

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Introduction The social psychology phenomenon that I have chosen is the spotlight effect. The spotlight effect is the belief that others are paying more attention to one's appearance and behavior than they really are (Myers, 2013). This phenomenon occurs more in adolescence and in situations such as public speaking or if a person has a change in appearance (i.e. a blemish or a “bad” haircut). The spotlight effect particularly interests me because I have experienced this phenomenon and I have seen many of my friends and family members experience it as well. I feel that it is fascinating that people feel that others are paying more attention to them than they actually are and that we see ourselves as center stage (Myers, 2013).
Summary &
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So, do individuals who are anxious overestimate the extent to which other people notice and attend to their external states (the spotlight effect). To conduct this study participants performed memory tasks in either a high or low social-evaluative condition. It was found that when participants in the high social-evaluative conditions reported higher levels of the spotlight effect and a more negative evaluation of their task performance, compared to participants in a low social-evaluative condition. Compared to the levels for illusion of transparency, it was found that the spotlight effect is more specific to social-evaluative concerns. Therefore socially anxious people reported higher levels of the spotlight effect (Brown & Stopa, 2006). Along with both research studies, a personal example of the spotlight effect occurred in my own life this semester. This semester I wore glasses for the first time since I was in elementary school and the first time I wore them around campus, I felt that everyone was looking at me because of my new glasses and I felt that everyone I knew was going to notice them and comment on them because they had never seen me wear glasses before. I was both excited and nervous about my glasses and felt that they were a “spotlight”, but as it turns out, most people only noticed my new glasses if I spent time with them every single day or if I mentioned them. Thus, I fell right into the spotlight effect, thinking that people were paying

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