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“How Valid Is My First Impression?” – Implicit Facial Trustworthiness Affects Social-Decision Making

November 25th, 2013 No comments

Do you believe in first impressions? Have you ever made a snapshot judgment about someone based on a brief interaction? All of us have experienced meeting someone new. Some studies suggest that after a mere seven seconds, we have already formed a first impression of that person. According to our impression of the person, we act and behave accordingly. Yet, we should ask ourselves, “How valid are our first impressions?”

Have you ever sat on a train and squirmed with discomfort because the guy next to you just seems “creepy?” Can you pinpoint what exactly makes him look creepy? Are his eyes set too close to each other?  Do his eyes look beady? Is his nose crooked? This poor guy is probably just staring out the window like the rest of the people on the train, probably just waiting to get to work. Although you have never met him before, his neutral facial expression somehow conveys a sense of untrustworthiness. Since he looks creepy, you will ignore him and maybe even move away from him. This example exhibits the dominant influence of perceived trustworthiness.

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