Expect First Impressions to be Carved in Stone
By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:
We’ve all heard the old saying: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It is true that when meeting someone new, our brain is quickly putting them into a number of categories. Their background, intelligence, friendliness, attitudes, trustworthiness, and a myriad of other aspects of character are all on their way to being locked into some pretty durable assumptions. In a legal setting, where a juror is reacting to a witness on the stand for example, we might want those credibility determinations to be made over time, informed by the full scope of the testimony. But don’t count on it. Our biological impression-formation machine isn’t known for its patience. Even in situations where our goals are to wait and to keep an open mind, we are still forming impressions almost immediately as a natural consequence of the brain’s penchant for making meaning. We can’t help it.
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