First Impressions

3181 words 13 pages
Research suggests that first impressions are created within the first few minutes of meeting someone. Discuss the factors that affect our perception of people and some of the elements that impact our accuracy or otherwise of first impressions, e.g. in an interview situation, first date, etc.

People take initial information about appearance, body language, what you say and more importantly how you say it and then form a judgment very quickly as to what type of person you are. First impressions are mainly based on facial features and body language as well as various generalisations and bias which affect the accuracy of those perceptions. From physical appearance to choice in clothing; from religion and race to social class and level
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In general, large eyes, full lips and a small jaw are preferred in females. In men height is an important factor as is a strong jaw line and again facial symmetry ( Michael, Ganon, Laumann, & Kolata, 1994). Asymmetry can often be linked to an impression of less intelligence and various genetic abnormalities.

Somebody that is beautiful may also be perceived as healthier or superior to others not as aesthetically pleasing. This is know as the ‘halo affect'; that is when somebody possesses a positive trait we also assume they have other positive traits even if we see no evidence of this (Demarais, White & Alderman 2004 ). People that are attractive may also be seen as warmer, more outgoing or more successful. However there are also negative aspects, for example attractive people may be labelled as snobby, vain or materialistic. Whatever your status or how beautiful you are people tend to find modest individuals more appealing than boastful ones. Modest people make others more comfortable and are seen as more approachable and less self absorbed.

Eye contact can make a great difference to our perceptions of others. How we look at someone and for how long communicates our feelings towards them. According to (Pease 1988) the eyes can be the most revealing of our true emotions mainly because the pupils work independently and can dilated or contract depending on mood. Anger makes them


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