What is the spotlight effect?

The spotlight effect is a phenomenon where we overestimate how much attention others pay to us. As a result, we feel others notice our appearance or behavior more than they actually do.  For example, if you wake up late and go to school in a stained sweater, you may think that everyone noticed. This occurs primarily due to the egocentric bias: we are so focused on ourselves that we forget others are also occupied with themselves or whatever they are doing.