Egocentric Bias: The Minority Spotlight Effect in African Students Going to School in the United States

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Spring 2019


The spotlight effect is a propensity for individuals to perceive that the spotlight is moreon them than it is (Gilovich, Victoria, & Savitsky, 2000). In this study I examined the extent towhich African students felt like there was a spotlight shining on them in four hypotheticalclassroom scenarios. The participants from this study were people who resided in the UnitedStates of America and were born in Africa. They were either college students, former collegestudents, or people with a college degree. The results showed there was a significant impact ofsolo status and salience on the spotlight effect, the range to which subjects felt like they had tostand up for their group, and the degree to which they felt the negative emotions associated withthe spotlight. Subjects reported feeling more in the spotlight when they were the lone member oftheir in-group and when the professor started a class discussion that was relevant to their in-group. The results attained in this research add to the insufficient amount of studies conducted onthe spotlight effect. The outcome of the study supports the suggestion that the minority spotlighteffect is an issue that minorities deal with when they find themselves in situations where they arethe only member of their in-group.


DeMarquis Hayes

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences