Understand Your Brain to Avoid Selfie Accidents

Posted on September 21, 2015

Selfies are emotionally engaging because they are personal. Humans are social animals and are hardwired to connect. When we do this, our brains are extremely busy. We focus on the image in the camera lens, feeling the emotions that made a moment worth capturing. We are anticipating--imagining seeing and sharing the image and remembering the moment, the event, the people, and the feelings.

When our brains are this preoccupied with a task, we don’t see what’s around us. Projecting visually makes us hyper-focused. Humans have selective attention—when we focus on one thing with great intentionality, it diminishes our cognizance of other things. It decreases our situational awareness.

Our brains are also terrible at evaluating risk. For example, we innately think dramatic events are riskier than mundane ones. Selfie-taking is simple. We have an innate sense that we are in control. Therefore, we are likely to discount other real risk factors.

While all these cognitive biases and innate tendencies make us not particularly good at risk evaluation, young people are the champs at making bad judgments. Not only do teens have the same biases as older people, they also have less practice gauging probabilities and predicting future outcomes.

Source material from Psychology Today