How the Illusion of Being Observed Can Make You a Better Person

I have found this interesting article, by Sander Van Der Linden. Which fits into my theme of identity and performance. In this article Linden is explaining how being watched makes you perform as a better person as you are less likely to do something wrong when someone is watching you, such as sticking gum under a table or not picking up dog poo in a public place when no one is around.

Identity and Performance

The presentation of self in everyday life by Erving Goffman considers the different situations that people can present themselves in. Goffman thinks that when a communication happens, an individual is presented and absorbed. Everyone js trying to be someone and persuade people that they are that person. There are two impressions given when interacting, someone will give and the other will give off. to give is to communicate the information they intend to give. Giving off is when someone accepts a projected identity.

An individual gives off a front to their audience. There are two different types of acts someone will do; private and public. When someone is in the public it is thought that they ‘perform’ a different self. Whereas when someone is in private they are thought to be themselves.

Using this theory I am going to conduct my own social experiment to see if people in Weymouth house foyer ‘perform’ once they feel they are put into the public eye.

Media Theory – Uses and Gratification

Uses and Gratifications model represents a change in thinking, as researchers began to describe the effects of the media from the point of view of audiences. The model looks at the motives of the people who use the media, asking why we watch the television programmes that we do, why we bother to read newspapers, why we find ourselves so compelled to keep up to date with our favourite soap. The underlying idea behind the model is that people are motivated by a desire to fulfil, or gratify certain needs. So rather that asking how the media uses us, the model asks how we use the media.

The model is broken down into four different needs, the need that I’m focusing on is:


The diversion need describes what’s commonly termed as escapism – watching the television so we can forget about our own lives and problems for a while and think about something else. This can work with positive programmes, such as holiday shows or the constant happy endings.