Being Observed Changes Our Behavior - Deepstash

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Being Observed Changes Our Behavior

Tracking, monitoring and observing people and animals changes their behaviour.

This has been seen in hospitals where patients and even doctors/nurses behave differently when they know that they are being observed. Even captured animals in a zoo behave differently when they are being watched.

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Apart from people, the observer effect is famously highlighted in the thought experiment of the physician Erwin Schrödinger.

Most people overlook the effect that people have when someone is observing them. There is a difference in the behaviour of people, animals and atoms when they are being observed.

While it is clear that observing something can change the outcome or behaviour, there is another aspect of the Observer Effect: It also changes the perception of the observer regarding the outcome.

Our own behaviour appears reasonable to us, and any mistakes that we make are easily attributed to other factors. However, if the same mistake is made by a third person, our tendency is to judge them as incompetent or inconsiderate. This is known as The Actor-Observer Bias.

An expectation that we might be spied on also makes us change our behaviour.

We can benefit from the observer effect by carving out our daily goals like going for a jog or to the gym to be observable by a friend, so that we know that if we skip a day, they will know about it.

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