• Newsfeed
  • selfie

There’s A Scientific Reason for Why You Look Weird In Selfies

2 minute read

There are many reasons why you look weird in selfies. Sometimes it’s simply because you have a weird-looking face (sorry, guys.) Sometimes it’s because you’re a trend-following New York Times Style Section reader who knows ugly (and preferably monocled) is the new pretty. Sometimes it’s because you posed like this:

But Nolan Feeney at The Atlantic says that there’s a completely separate reason why photo subjects think they look a little off in their selfies. And that reason is science. Specifically, science of the brain.

We are used to identifying with our faces as they would appear in a mirror, but when we take a selfie, the camera captures our faces as strangers would see us from head on rather than we would see ourselves in a reflection. Emotionally unprepared to see our unsymmetrical faces tilting in a slightly different way, we sometimes approach selfies with confusion and disdain.

There’s also the technical issue of our close-range camera phone lenses distorting our faces.

But is this a reason to say no to the selfie for self preservation’s sake? Hogwash. While some say selfies make people narcissistic, others say that they actually make them more comfortable in their own skin. Because the more times you take a selfie, the more comfortable you are seeing your face in all angles.

And as long as your hair looks good, who cares about the other stuff, anyway?

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com