How Could They Not Notice

You’re late, you’re dressed like a dork and you’re ignored.

In a study, Cornell researchers made sure that a student would feel he was in the spotlight. They dressed the student in a Barry Manilow t-shirt, made them knock on a door and enter a room five minutes after everyone else. The researchers directed the person to a chair facing the other participants and when they started to sit, they were told that the others were too far ahead and asked to wait in another room. The student thought that almost half the people had noticed the embarrassing t-shirt when less than a quarter of the people had noticed it.

The same principle also applies to positive actions. The third study published in the paper on the spotlight effect shows that people also over-estimate the (positive) impact they have in conversations. The researched proved that people believe they stand out more than they actually do.

Your gaffes are not as noticeable as you think. Your accomplishments are not as noticeable as you think. Your ego is too self-centered.

If less than a quarter of the people notice a special t-shirt in these circumstances,  I realized that by observing people and noticing their actions, I can see more than the average person. I also get to see people as they see themselves.