Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spotlight Effect/Belief in a Just World!

 The two issues that I have used/thought about the most since class on Monday were the spotlight effect and the belief in a just world theory. The second of the two is perhaps something that I can use in most, if not all of my classes. 
The belief in a just world ideology basically is the false notion that good things happen to good people and that bad things happen to bad people. This ideology acts as a sort of false shield or protection from "bad things" since everyone believes that they are innately good inside. Today I have been forced to use this to look at both, global and personal aspects of the policies in the United States and my life. So here it goes...
Today in Paideia we started talking about "our [SU Students in general]" plans and reasons for studying abroad. Dr. Johnston, aka MelJohn as she is more commonly know, pushes us to stay away from the typical trip to Europe and go somewhere exotic. This conversation segued into a much different conversation about Haiti and other places where people typically focus on the negative aspects the media portrays. For example, one news article one MSNBC.com reads, "Haiti situation ‘potentially volatile,’ U.N. warns..." This article was written about some men committing an armed robbery, but they weren't stealing TV's or diamonds, they were stealing food. The aid being sent to Haiti has taken so long that people have begun to die of other things, however the media portrays Haitians has this "bad," country, just as much of the media did when covering Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I feel that this way of searching and finding the "bad" is a way to bolster our own protective shields towards natural, keyword, natural, disasters. Another interesting fact that I did not know about the "trouble" in Haiti,  is that on an even larger global scheme, Haiti has been in debt to the USA since the 1830's when they were forced to pay France the amount of money that they would have received for each new citizen of Haiti, each Haitian being a former slave in France. Just another little tidbit. 
The second thing I wanted to talk about was the spotlight effect. It basically says the a person tends to think that others will notice the things that they do or how they look more so than others will. The reason for this is a schema formed by those "others" about that person, their behavior, and the way that they look. Therefore, because it is not efficient to change that schema constantly, people tend to fail to notice "bad hair days," and black circles under your eyes. This probably got to me most because I've been playing sports all my life and could never understand why I felt I had all these amazing "moments," and everyone seemed to lump it all into the category of good game, and visa versa of course. My dad is maybe the only person who points out, save for save, or no saves, every game I've ever played in.  So, the spotlight effect runs deep... haha I guess it's a good and bad thing. If I look terrible one day, people probably won't notice, but if I play awesome, they probably won't notice that either... :) 

Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. R. (2008). In Social Psychology (7th ed., pp.113-114). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Gilovich, T., & Savitsky, K. (1999). The Spotlight effect and the illusion of transparency: egocentric assessments of how we are seen by others. Current Directions, 8(6), 165-168.

Associated Press, (2010, February 2). Haiti situation ‘potentially volatile,’ u.n. warns. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35202742/ns/world_news-haiti_earthquake/

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