Definition of the term: FIRST IMPRESSION

Posted in Blog, Image Management, Uncategorized

Definition of the term: FIRST IMPRESSION

first impression photo

Everyone knows first impressions matter, but maybe many don’t understand the true definition of the term: FIRST IMPRESSION!

According to Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov (Psychological Science (v.17): July, 2006), the first impression often happens inside of 1/10 of a second. They researched how people judged pictures of peoples’ faces, given time constraints, along 5 traits (attractiveness, likeability, competence, trustworthiness, and aggressiveness).

They found 3 very interesting things that should inform how you make decision in the future:
1) People developed a judgment of someone in 1/10 of a second that was strongly correlated with those given more time. 1/10 of a second appears enough time for someone to make a judgment that will stick.

2) When given more time, people still made judgments in about 1/10 of a second; not using the extra time to evolve/challenge their judgment. People want to make a judgment in a fraction of a second, even if it is unnecessary.

3) More exposure to a subject doesn’t change a judgment, but it does increase one’s confidence that the judgment is correct. After 1/10 of a second, people spend the remaining 9/10’s of a second (and beyond) convincing themselves that they were right.

So next time you hear something like: “I have really good instincts about a person – he is the right person for the job”…  more likely it may not just be true – it could be the effect of the “First Impression”.

Now that you know what ‘first impression’ is, what can you do about this phenomenon ?

  • How can you make first impression work for you to succeed ?
    Ans: Manage your image to make positive first impressions. Be Proactive. Be Authentic.

  • How can you protect yourself from making wrong decisions?
    Ans: Challenge your first impressions to make it more deliberate and conscious decision-making.  Do not let your personal bias, assumptions and expectation cloud the truth.

Do you make decision based on first impressions or not? Do you trust your gut feelings about people you don’t know? Do you try  to challenge your first impressions?

Is first impressions an emotional reaction or rational fast thinking?

… somethings to think about.


(Inspired by: an article

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