Breaking News! You Are Being Watched More Than You Think

Imagine you are at a festival. The kind with art, music and lots of alcohol. Now think of the people-watching! Stolen glances at people we don’t know and contrived scenarios of who they are and what their life is like. Then having a good chuckle over it. However, scientists have made an “exciting” discovery about this activity. Turns out, people only think they are doing this to others, they don’t think others are doing this to them.

“It’s true,” said one of the scientists. “Technically this is called ‘ignorance at its finest’ but in six consecutive studies the results were the same. People don’t think they are being judged, I mean observed.”

New research from Yale says there’s a name for this, “The Invisibility Cloak Illusion.” No doubt the lead scientist was a Harry Potter fan, but the term succinctly explains how people feel they are somehow concealed from the scrutiny of others. And in every study people identified themselves as the watcher, not the watched.


“I’m both,” revealed one of the participants. “At last year’s Coachella my friends and I made fun of a lot people when we first got there, but after the drugs kicked in, it’s like, who cares. I’m too busy dancing and trying to meet the band.”

So why do people consistently share this denial? The working hypothesis suggests that it reduces the “anxiety that may arise” when dealing with  how to interact with groups of people.

“I don’t agree with this study,” said a male critic of Yale’s research. “Yes people are looking at me, because I’m hot. Let’s not forget big brother is also watching.” After running his fingers through his hair, the male critic said, “That’s right, not only am I hot, I’m smart, too.”

Missed last week’s “Breaking News You Can’t Use?” Check it out here.

Breaking News! You Are Being Watched More Than You Think
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