Three studies examined people's estimates of the perceived variability of their appearance and behavior in the eyes of others. Whether assessing the manifest variability of their physical appearance (Studies 1a, 1b, and 1c), their athletic accomplishments (Study 2), or their performance on a popular videogame (Study 3), participants consistently overestimated the extent to which their ups and downs would be noted by observers. The results of Study 3 suggest that this bias stems in part from a failure to appreciate the extent to which observers are preoccupied with managing their own actions. Discussion focuses on how this corollary of the "spotlight effect" can contribute to social anxiety and gnawing regrets of inaction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science