Spotlight effect

I heard about this phenomenon a few months ago and was meant to post about it at the time but then depression kicked in so I didn’t.

I now think about Ashley who managed to create such fantastic posts and even write books while depressed. And yet she couldn’t put up with life. It’s so confusing to me.

According to Wikipedia spotlight effect is ‘a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to believe they are being noticed more than they really are. Being that one is constantly in the center of one’s own world an accurate evaluation of how much one is noticed by others is uncommon. The reason for the spotlight effect is the innate tendency to forget that although one is the center of one’s own world, one is not the center of everyone else’s. This tendency is especially prominent when one does something atypical.

Research has empirically shown that such drastic over-estimation of one’s effect on others is widely common. Many professionals in social psychology encourage people to be conscious of the spotlight effect and to allow this phenomenon to moderate the extent to which one believes one is in a social spotlight.’

So basically if you think that other people pay attention to everything you do you are probably suffering spotlight effect. I used to know someone who had it quite bad. I wonder now whether this is neurotypical thing though? I rarely have the impression people think about me; more often than not I have the opposite problem when I believe they don’t pay any attention to me and possibly don’t notice my greasy hair for example so there’s no point in washing it.

Spotlight effect would suggest though that neurotypicals’ social imagination is not that great as we are made to believe.

My psychiatric appointment is in three days. I can’t wait. I really need something to help me cope with this depression.

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