Spotlight Effect

Spotlight Effect: Why we believe that everyone regularly judges us.

Spotlight effect: Why we believe that everyone regularly judges us.

An attention bias that leads us to think that everyone lives obsessed with looking at us.

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A concern that can reach obsession – Spotlight Effect!

“I’ve made a mistake.” “I have pronounced badly.” “I have an imperfection in my face.” All these phrases have something in common. Many people are very bothered by the idea that others may detect an imperfection in oneself.

The truth is that most people with whom we interact are not even going to look at it. But we can become obsessed with that particular detail that might make us look bad, believing that everyone will see it.

We are facing what is known as the Spotlight Effect, a psychological phenomenon very common in western civilization.

What is the spotlight effect?

The spotlight effect is the overestimation that people make of their behavior or characteristics. In other words. People consider their act or element to be very striking, and everyone will see it and judge it.

It generally refers to harmful elements, such as having done an action wrong, having a pimple, or wearing clothes that create shame.

However, it can also refer to an overestimation of what other people are going to say about their contribution. Or some positive features that others will value and admire.

It is more frequent in very introspective people, or who tend to focus a lot on themselves and their actions.

While we give more importance to a specific element and think that the environment is going to focus on it.

Causing this thought the desire to hide or show it. It depends on whether what we believe of that element is negative or positive.

But we lose sight of and forget the fact that we are not the core of the lives of others, being focused on their affairs.

Experiments performed about
Spotlight Effect

The existence of the spotlight effect is documented and observed in multiple experiments. One of them was that of Cornell University, in which students were asked to wear shirts that they considered shameful.

After that, they were asked to evaluate the number of people who had noticed that detail deemed unworthy.
The contrast of data reflected that less than half of the people that participate thought they had noticed had done so.

The same experiment has been carried out in multiple ways with very similar results. With aspects such as hairstyle, or even in participation in debates.

Not only with physical elements or actions performed. The same effect is observed in the belief that others can guess their emotional state due to the weight of our behaviors or actions.

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Repercussions of Spotlighting

The spotlight effect is common, but it can generate a series of significant consequences for the person who suffers from it.

It is closely linked to self-esteem. If we believe that people are looking at their own element that we deem harmful, insecurity and a decrease in our perceived self-worth will appear.

We focus our attention on the element in question and tend to pay less attention to the rest of the variables. Factors present in ourselves or the environment.

Likewise, this targeting can generate a decrease in the ability to concentrate. Performance in other tasks, which in turn can further decrease our self-esteem.

It can also cause behavioral changes and may lead to avoidance or complex personal situations.

This showing up with this element could be embarrassing/proud. For example, not going out or not going to a party for thinking that everyone will see and judge the defect that came out last night.

It is even possible to relate this effect to some pathologies. Body dysmorphic disorder or eating disorders can be examples in which a spotlight effect is important.

In the “Body Dysmorphic Disease”, there is a fixation with a part of the body that embarrasses us. In disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, the weight and physical figure that we have become an obsession.

Who suffer them overestimate the elements and get to distort their self-perception.

Looking fat / even being in severe underweight or feeling a deep aversion and concern on their part. Although in these cases it is more related to their self-perception.

A frequent effect throughout the life cycle

The spotlight effect is something that most people have ever experienced, being especially prevalent in adolescence. This effect is directly related to one of the typical mental phenomena of this moment of development: the imaginary audience.

The thought that others are attentive to our actions or looks, something that generates that we can behave in a way that favors the opinion of the rest about us.

It is a somewhat self-centered vision! Thinking that the rest of the environment is going to pay attention to us.
That is habitual in the moments in which we are assuming our individuality and creating our own identity.

The imaginary audience is something that as we mature, we are disappearing to be replaced by the concern for the real audience. We have every day. But even in adulthood, the truth is that as a general rule. We tend to overestimate the impression we cause on others and the attention given to us.

Advertising use for Spotlight Effect

The Spotlight Effect existed for many years and has come to be used as an advertising element and for marketing purposes.

The concern to cover something that we consider a defect or to attract attention is something that is used by brands to generate more sales.

Prominent examples are the advertisements of certain brands of clothing, cosmetics, cars, watches, or deodorants. We use the supposed focus of others on what we use to help show a more positive image.

This situation does not mean that others do not look at any measure in what we do or carry, being the image something important today.

But the truth is that this effect makes us overestimate the importance of specific details and give value to things that do not have so much.

Constructive Criticism to help fix the Spotlight Effect!

Constructive criticism is an intrinsic part of the assertive communication process.

When we can express our views clearly, being empathic with others, we can make excellent constructive criticism. Of course, it is a somewhat delicate process.

In this post, we will see the steps to follow to make constructive criticisms about the actions, the way of being, or the performance of the other person is.

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How to receive or give constructive criticism?

The process of constructive criticism responds to several factors. The basis of all suggestions about what can be done to improve something will always be the empathy you have for the other person.

When we are concerned with the development of another person, in any of their areas. We only want this person to be able to improve their abilities, and for this.

We need to express what are the aspects in which they could change their behavior (from Our point of view).

So, to criticize with the best intentions, we need to be able to put ourselves in the place of the other and feel how things are from their perspective.

Not only is it necessary to think about the consequence of improving the final product. Also, consider the present moment in which the improvement has not yet occurred. What concerns, insecurities, and expectations does the other have?

How to take constructive criticism and avoid the Spotlight Effect!

These are several tips and recommendations on how to make constructive criticism properly.

1. Know the subject

Commenting on something we do not know is not at all constructive, on the contrary, instead of adding, we will be subtracting.

The most advisable thing before giving your criticism to a person is that you make sure that you have a minimum command of the subject of which you are going to comment. If not, giving your opinion that way could be seen as an unjustified intrusion and a waste of time.

2. Conduct a situation assessment

Before giving your point of view on the performance of a person, you must evaluate what the variables that are influencing the final result are. In this way, in your constructive criticism, you will be able to provide more exact information about the aspects where the person should improve.

It may be that the person already knows that he is not performing well in college. That this is mainly due not to his lack of organization or study skills but the simple fact that he works in the afternoon and has no energy left for study.

3. Be sure to include positive aspects

When you are ready to make some constructive criticism. The idea is that you not only focus on the issues to be corrected by the person but also that you are in charge of highlighting their virtues.

This significantly contributes to reinforcing the motivation of the other person to continue making progress.

4. Consider the moment

We must be timely when criticizing positively. It is necessary that we take into consideration the moment in which we are going to express our views to the other.

Sometimes it is necessary to wait for the right situation so as not to be disrespectful.

5. Consider the place

As with the moment, we also need to check thoroughly if the place where we are is the most appropriate to make the observations that we would like to make to someone about their performance.

The idea is that we can motivate ourselves to improve, not generate awkward situations.

6. The type of language

You should always use explicit language. Let’s not leave any idea in the air, because this can give way to misunderstandings. We must discuss, point by point, what our observations and recommendations are.

We do not want to generate rejection, but a bond of trust with the subject.

7. Strengthen your goals

It is essential to emphasize the objectives that the other person intends to achieve.

It is good to remind you how much you want to do it and that it is worth the effort to achieve it. Always making sure that these objectives are achievable based on the possibilities of the subject.

8. Allows replication opportunity

Once you finish expressing your constructive criticism, be sure to give the other person the respective right to reply. The communication must be bidirectional, and the other also has the opportunity to provide their point of view on your suggestions.

9. Control the tone of voice

The sound of voice we use to communicate our opinions will largely determine how the communication dynamics will be.

We must not be hostile so that the other person does not feel obeyed. The calmer we are, the better.

10. Consider the availability of the other person

Some people are not available to receive criticism, no matter how constructive they may be. In the first instance, we can try an approach to give our critiques, but if the subject is not receptive to them, it is best not to insist too much.

11. Consider the possibilities of the other person

Identify if the other person has the necessary resources to change their situation, or if instead, it is something that is beyond their control.

If the subject cannot change his real situation, avoid criticizing him, and only give him your support and support to the extent that you can do so.

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Do criticisms affect you too much? Spotlight Effect!

Do not worry; we explain how to manage them.

We all receive criticism from time to time. Sometimes they may not be correct, but at other times they can help us ask what we are doing wrong.

It is not the same as criticizing us in the face and explaining the reasons for the criticism, then doing it in a public place in front of other people and without telling what they think we have done wrong.

But what to do in those situations where they make us look ridiculous? Do we pretend we haven’t heard it? Do we get angry and let the case get out of hand?

You may not be able to prevent someone from criticizing you, but what you can do is change the way you perceive criticism.

A. Evaluate the criticisms and the person who makes them

It is essential to be objective to know how to respond and act. There is a significant difference between constructive criticism and criticism of someone who only wants to hurt you to discredit you. Therefore, assess whether what that person says is true.

What to do: Try to get away from the situation and lower your ego, just as if the case were happening to another and not to you. Take a deep breath and don’t get carried away by anger.

B. Recognize your emotions

The pressure of the moment can dominate you if you are unable to recognize your feelings or what bothers you about criticism. When someone hurts you, especially someone close, it is still better to let it pass to avoid an unnecessary confrontation.

But you must recognize those emotions because they can indicate that something is not right. If you do not pay attention to your emotions, the problem may become more significant and even eternal. Recognizing the message they send you is the principle of being able to deal with issues properly.

What to do: Before you get carried away by the impulse, pay attention to what your emotions try to tell you. Ask yourself: If this emotion could speak now, what would it say? What would I do? Or What can I do to get out of this situation in a relaxed way?

C. Set clear limits to the usual critics

You can decide who and what you tolerate in your life. Because both in your personal and work experience, you can meet people who criticize you. But you choose the limits you put on that person and how you will feel about what he says about you.

It is suitable for your well-being that you turn away from these types of toxic people because it can affect you emotionally. At work, it can hurt your performance, your creativity, and can harm the excellent working environment.

What to do: Decide what you are going to do if the critic continues with the criticism. Try to convey, calmly and delicately, that you are not willing to tolerate this situation.

For example, you can tell him that this time, you will let him pass, but as it happens again, the relationship with that person will end. When you imply where the limit is, you make yourself respected. Be sure to take action if it happens again.

D. Search for the hidden truth

Close people, co-workers, or someone in the supermarket queue can respond to our actions, and their behaviors can reflect our own words.

His criticisms, although harsh or spiteful, may hide some aspect of our behavior that we have refused to see, but which may be right. For a critique to be constructive, look for that hidden truth, although it is not always easy to accept it.

What to do? Instead of reacting with anger to criticism, have the courage to ask yourself: Does this criticism have any truth? Then ask yourself again or ask the other person if there is anything you can do so that they are not offended.

E. Don’t let anybody tell lies about you

When someone spreads rumors or lies that can affect your work or your relationships, you cannot ignore it. In these cases, it is better that you face the problem with your head to clear your name.

What to do: To keep your mind clear, take a few deep breaths and take a piece of paper. On one side, write the rumor or the lie. On the other hand, write the lie as you see it.

Stay with those people who may have misunderstood your actions or words and calmly explain how you feel and what has happened. Even if they don’t believe you, at least you have been able to defend yourself, so you can continue with your life.

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F. Solve problems from the heart

If you speak from the heart and in an honest way, it is much better than reacting impulsively and spitefully. Acting as this makes you a great person, and does not allow the situation to get worse

What to do: Under challenging situations, reconnect with yourself and your heart. Just close your eyes and breathe. Think of something beautiful or something to be deeply grateful for.

Once your anger has passed, try the problem again and ask yourself: What can I do to solve this situation? What is my next step? Listen to the answers that arise from your heart.

G. Follow your path

When an insult of someone immature comes to you, instead of having the victim role adopted, go your way. Don’t let criticism distract you from your goals. Think of those comments as pure noise.

What to do: Don’t let harmful criticism affect you, and don’t let all critics leave you out of play. Not all criticism demands an answer. Stay focused on keeping essential things in your life so you can continue giving much to others.

H. Open your heart to critics

Sometimes what affects you is not your fault. The person who criticizes you may have a problem of self-esteem or is going through the wrong time. On these occasions, it may be the way they say they need help.

For example, your roommate may be having a crazy time with your partner and criticize you for not picking up the dishes. In this case, you may be in your sights for being a person close to him, but what happens to him is that he is not able to manage so much emotional pain. Hold out your hand instead of fighting him.

What to do: When you detect that this may be the problem, ask him what happens to him. You can also tell him that you know what is going wrong and that this is affecting your relationship.

9. Be polite but firm in public

Humiliation, whether by a boss or a co-worker at a meeting or a family member, can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Do not criticize critics or fight with them. This will only harm you. Be polite, be calm, and control your impulses.

What to do: If someone has legitimate motives but has verbalized them improperly, smile, and say something to break the tension and also add: “If there is something that has bothered you, I would like to talk to you later.”

10. Don’t take it as personal

If you have heeded the previous advice and have adjusted your behavior but continue to criticize you, it is time to move on. Unfortunately, some people criticize to project their problems on others. Therefore, do not take it as personal.

What to do: Instead of wasting your energy and attention on critical comments, get rid of them, accept them, let them go, and get on with your life.

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By admin / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

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on Oct 17, 2019

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