The Spotlight Effect Explains Why We Think Everyone Notices A Stain On Our Shirt

Walking around wearing a slightly stained shirt can feel like carrying a blinking neon sign advertising your outfit's tiny blemish. You feel this way due to the Spotlight Effect. This psychological effect is the tendency to think that many people notice something about you more than they actually do. So you can relax—the whole room is not staring at your tiny stain. In reality, your stain probably went completely unnoticed, according to studies on this effect.

The spotlight effect feels very real as a result of egocentrism. But this doesn't mean everyone is egotistical. This psychological effect occurs because we are the center of our own worlds and all we really know is ourselves. Since our existence is based on our personal experiences, something that is a big deal to us seems like it should at least be noticed and acknowledged by others. But studies show this is not the case. Everyone has this egocentrism, so others are more likely focusing on themselves than noticing the things you're worried about. So take a deep breath—people aren't the harsh judges you perceive them to be. Learn more about this relatable effect in the video below.

We've All Fallen Victim To The Spotlight Effect

Good news: people probably aren't staring at you. If you feel like they are, it's probably all in your head.

10 Facts About Psychology

Blame psychology for making the spotlight effect feel so real...

Written by Curiosity Staff September 20, 2016

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