Studies have shown that the spotlight effect, believing that others are paying more attention to you than they really are, is part of any given social situation. In this study I will investigate whether or not the spotlight effect is present in interactions through social media as it is in in-person interactions. I will also be looking into the third person effect, or the tendency for people to assume that others are more affected by various forms of persuasion than they are. This will be a 3 ́3 ́2 ́2 study. The randomized condition of self, friend to self, and friend to others dictating how the participant approaches the questions and the participants’ gender will be between-subjects variables. My within-subjects variables will be how personal the product in the post is and gender of the model in the post. Through hypothetical situations with consumer generated stories on social media, I will determine what aspects of the Big 5 personality traits impact the spotlight effect, as well we if perfectionism plays a role. I expect to find that there is a spotlight effect and third person effect visible in these social media interactions. It is also expected that the more personal a product is, the greater the intensity of the spotlight effect will be.


Wilhelms, Evan




Social Psychology


social media, spotlight effect, third person effect

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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