Do you form your first impression as the last impression?
In psychology a first impression is an experience when one person first comes across another person and forms a mental image or an impression of that person. The impression need not always be accurate; it varies depending on the observer’s frame of mind and the target (person, object, scene, etc.) being observed. First impressions are based on a wide range of characteristics: age, race, culture, language, gender, physical appearance, accent, posture, voice, smile, facial expressions, interest and of course the hearsay number of people present, and time allowed to process details observed. The first impressions given by individuals greatly influence how they are treated and viewed in many contexts of everyday life.
It’s proved that it takes just one-tenth of a second for us to judge someone and make a first impression. Imagine, how much time is one tenth of a second – and in that we form an opinion – some very important and some not so important. Researchers have observed that when more time is spent, there is variance in opinions formed. Not only are people quick to form first impressions, they like to stick to their first impressions many times. On the other hand, first impressions can be fairly accurate when the target presents himself/herself genuinely. Some people are really precise at understanding people. It is also observed that generally people are not good at perceiving artificial emotions or detecting lies.
We are trained from our childhood that the first impression is always the most important one. This is true when you are searching a job, admission for a professional course, when you are meeting your date for the first time, when you go for a party, a social gathering, or for a picnic. The same is also true for a product. First impressions do matter us a lot in our lives. It’s true about us as well as when we form one for others.
We all have a lot of firsts in life; practically every day – from buying groceries, vegetables, a book, magazine, visiting a blog or website, engaging a tutor, taking admission in a tuition class, meeting our teachers for the first time in their first lecture etc, etc. the list is long. I personally think first impression should never be treated as the last impression. I am sure all of us on so many occasions must have formed wicked impressions about people, sportsmen, politicians, objects, places, actors, movies, songs, poetries etc. We don’t even spear the Almighty God!! The moment something goes wrong in our lives we start condemning the God. So, we are feeble in forming our impressions.
Imagine, if everyone was judged only on the basis of first impression and there would have been no second, third, fourth chance, what our life would be like? What would happen to individual creativity, individual brilliance and benevolence?
But, can we overlook the fact that the world is filled with cheaters liars, and backstabbers. It happens to all of us – sometimes when we are led to believe a thing to be true when it is not, that’s when we are deceived. Do listen to your heart when you are meeting someone important for the first time or when you are going to buy something as precious as a house or car and you are feeling uneasy, or when you feel not to drive down a particular road, and when you feel strongly like changing a job, or when you feel uncomfortable talking to someone, there are so many instances when your instincts caution you about something, listen to your inner self, respect your own feelings. Don’t take hasty decisions. These first impressions warn you of some perils.
Remember, when at times you don’t feel great about something, some person, in sense you don’t get clarity about a situation, think why? Notice what happens in your body – check in with your gut first, then your shoulders, arms, legs, and any other part of your body that calls your awareness. Are you tense or relaxed? Do you feel uncomfortable? Take some time to let your physical sensations register, and notice what they tell you about the person or situation. For example, you might get this sensation of knotting in your stomach, a tightening in your throat, or simply that your body isn’t feeling good. At such times relax, take deep breaths don’t take a decision. Here your first impression is warning you of some impending loss, risk or failure.
Our brain and its associated powers are a living miracle. Our brain has an interesting built-in mechanism which acts as radar and needs to be understood in order to get the maximum benefit from it. To conclude, while our first impressions are frequently based upon instincts, impulse, intuitions and emotions; they are also built on our doubtful beliefs, not all are rational thought or fact-based evidence. In some cases, it really isn’t important if you are overly optimistic or pessimistic in your initial judgment. Though there are situations in which correctly predicting someone’s behavior can save your life or dramatically change it.
Please read this carefully: A few years ago, in Germany, a professor of criminology conducted an experiment that involved 500 law students. There were 12 unknown “guests.” These included the local police commander and the local prosecutor, the university treasurer and the public relations officer, some lawyers and court officials, and three convicted criminals. The students were to determine the profession of each of the guests, as well as which of the guests had to serve a prison sentence and for what crime. All of this was to be based only on their appearance and on the hobbies they said they had. And it is interesting to know what happened to the results? About 75 percent of the students succeeded in picking out the three real criminals. But an average of 60 percent of the students also identified the nine other guests as lawbreakers who in fact had a clean record! The local prosecutor was thought to be a potential drug pusher by 1 out of 7 of the students, and the police commander was thought to be a thief by 1 out of 3 of them! Assessments based on impressions can be far off the mark.
Conclusion: Appearances can be deceptive.