The Startup
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The Startup

Train at dawn
Photo by Samuel Fyfe on Unsplash

Selective Perception

Map of Hiawatha Service 332
Hiawatha Service 332
Annual Deaths from Smoking, United States
Three Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 by Pang Kakit [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Ticket scheduler for Amtrak
Screenshot from scheduler

Key Takeaways:

  • Selective perception leads people to seek the pleasant and avoid the unpleasant.
  • Halo effects influence our perception by assigning the value of a known attribute to an unknown attribute.
  • People erect psychological barriers to threatening stimuli.
  • We can also avoid the pitfalls of selective perception by acknowledging it and recognizing its triggers.


  1. Fennis, Bob M. and Wolfgang Stroebe. The Psychology of Advertising. London: Routledge, 2009.
  2. “Smoking & Tobacco Use.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 15, 2017.Accessed June 08, 2018.
  3. National Safety Council. “NSC Releases Latest Injury and Fatality Statistics and Trends.” News release, March 25, 2014. National Safety Council. Accessed June 8, 2018.
  4. “Gateway to Health Communication & Social Marketing Practice.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 15, 2017. Accessed June 08, 2018.
  5. Rainie, Lee. “Americans’ Complicated Feelings about Social Media in an Era of Privacy Concerns.” Pew Research Center. March 27, 2018. Accessed June 08, 2018.
  6. “Social Media Fact Sheet.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. February 05,2018. Accessed June 08, 2018.
  7. Dolcourt, Jessica. “Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall: Everything You Still Need to Know about What’s Coming next.” CNET. January 23, 2017. Accessed June 08, 2018.

If you would like to read more, please check out my book “UX Fundamentals for Non-UX Professionals.”



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Edward Stull

User experience designer and researcher | author of UX Fundamentals for Non-UX Professionals