Brain Mysteries
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  Newsletter |  Message Board/Forum |  About |  Links |  Subscribe to BrainMysteries.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Improvements in fuel cell designImprovements in fuel cell design

Rediscovering Venus to find faraway earthsRediscovering Venus to find faraway earths

Archaeologists discover bronze remains of Iron Age chariotArchaeologists discover bronze remains of Iron Age chariot

Researchers resolve the Karakoram glacier anomaly, a cold case of climate scienceResearchers resolve the Karakoram glacier anomaly, a cold case of climate science

Fish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fishFish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fish

New 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiencyNew 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiency

Researchers break nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiberResearchers break nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiber

Magnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny waysMagnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny ways

Structure of an iron-transport protein revealedStructure of an iron-transport protein revealed

First step: From human cells to tissue-engineered esophagusFirst step: From human cells to tissue-engineered esophagus

Autophagy helps fast track stem cell activationAutophagy helps fast track stem cell activation

Myelin vital for learning new practical skillsMyelin vital for learning new practical skills

Spiders: Survival of the fittest groupSpiders: Survival of the fittest group

More physical activity improved school performanceMore physical activity improved school performance

Around the world in 400,000 years: The journey of the red foxAround the world in 400,000 years: The journey of the red fox

Engineering new vehicle powertrainsEngineering new vehicle powertrains

Active aging is much more than exerciseActive aging is much more than exercise

Study: New device can slow, reverse heart failureStudy: New device can slow, reverse heart failure

Are the world's religions ready for ET?Are the world's religions ready for ET?

Gut bacteria, artificial sweeteners and glucose intoleranceGut bacteria, artificial sweeteners and glucose intolerance

Recreating the stripe patterns found in animals by engineering synthetic gene networksRecreating the stripe patterns found in animals by engineering synthetic gene networks

Laying the groundwork for data-driven scienceLaying the groundwork for data-driven science

Hold on, tiger momHold on, tiger mom

Nature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologiesNature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologies

Missing piece found to help solve concussion puzzleMissing piece found to help solve concussion puzzle

Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Even fact will not change first impressions (2/26/2014)

Tags:
appearance, bias, books, conflict, confusion, dating, distress, first impressions, focus, gender, impressions, information, judgments, knowledge, learning, memory, men, nature, partners, perception, personality, psychology, reading, research, romance, sex, sexual orientation, shapes, society, time, video, women

Knowledge is power, yet new research suggests that a person's appearance alone can trump knowledge. First impressions are so powerful that they can override what we are told about people. A new study found that even when told whether a person was gay or straight, participants generally identified the person's sexual orientation based on how they looked - even if it contradicted the facts presented to them.

"We judge books by their covers, and we can't help but do it," says Nicholas Rule of the University of Toronto. "With effort, we can overcome this to some extent, but we are continually tasked with needing to correct ourselves." The less time we have to make our judgments, the more likely we are to go with our gut, even over fact, he says.

A series of recent studies, presented today at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual conference in Austin, shows that appearance shapes everything from whether we ultimately end up liking someone to our assessment of their sexual orientation or trustworthiness. And researchers say that whether a first impression occurs online versus in person is important. While we may be able to size up someone's personality from a Facebook photo, it will often be more negative impression than one formed face-to-face.

Appearance trumps fact

"As soon as one sees another person, an impression is formed," Rule says. "This happens so quickly - just a small fraction of a second - that what we see can sometimes dominate what we know."

In the study on first impressions of sexual orientation, Rule and colleagues showed 100 participants photos of 20 men, identifying them either as gay or straight. The photos had been previously coded based on a consensus opinion on whether the men "looked" gay or straight, which accurately matched to their real-life sexual orientations. The researchers then tested participants' recall of the men's sexual orientations several times to ensure perfect memorization.

After this learning phase, the researchers then showed participants the faces again, varying the amount of time they had to categorize the men's sexual orientations. The less time they had to categorize the faces, the more likely the participants were to categorize the men according to whether they looked gay or straight rather than what they had been told about their sexuality. With more time, however, the participants reverted to what they had learned about the men's sexuality.

"Hence, they seemed to judge by appearance when they were forced to make their judgments quickly," Rule says. "When they were allowed more time, though, they judged according to what they knew about the individuals."

Interestingly, the researchers labeled half the faces with their actual sexual orientation and half with their opposite orientation. They did this to "teach the participants to learn information that was opposite to their perceptions," Rule says. "It was important for us to establish a conflict between perception - how the face looked - and memory - what they knew about the man's sexual orientation."

Rule uses the example of Ricky Martin who for years denied he was gay before finally coming out. In the 1990s, people might see Martin and think "oh, that's a gay guy," he says, "but then you'd recognize that it was Ricky Martin and think 'oh, wait, that's Ricky Martin - he told Barbara Walters that he was straight.' So there's a corrective process there: First impressions continue to assert themselves long after you know relevant information about a person."

Rule presented this study at the SPSP conference today, along with a related new study that looked at how people categorized faces as trustworthy or not. In that study, facial appearance was a stronger predictor of whether people viewed someone as trustworthy than descriptive information provided, even even it conflicted.

"Together, these studies help to illustrate the often inescapable nature of how we form impressions of other people based on their appearance," Rule says. "Not only should people not assume that others will be able to overcome aspects of their appearance when evaluating them, but also those of us on the other end should be actively working to consider that our impressions of others are biased."

The virtual bias

"If you want to make a good impression, it is critical that it is done in person," says Jeremy Biesanz of the University of British Columbia. That is the bottom line of his new research that looks at the difference in how we form impressions in person, versus online, by video, or by just watching.

In three studies, Biesanz and colleagues compared the accuracy and bias of impressions formed under different circumstances. The first study analyzed a series of experiments involving more than 1,000 participants who met each other through either a 3-minute speed-dating style interview or by watching a video of the person they are evaluating. They also evaluated their own personalities.

"What we observe here is that the accuracy of impressions is the same when you meet someone face to face or simply watch a video of them," Biesanz, says. "However, impressions are much more negative when you form impressions more passively through watching videotapes." So while people could accurately attribute certain personality traits - for example, extroverted, arrogant, sociable - to others both in person or by video, the magnitude of the positive attributes was lower and of negative attributes was higher via video.

The researchers found similar results in two other studies - one that used the same set-up to compare in-person impressions to those obtained through looking Facebook photos, and another that compared in-person meetings to simply watching someone as a passive observer. In all cases, the passive means of making impressions were as accurate as the active ones. "However, there is an extremely large difference in the positivity of impressions," he says "More passive impressions are substantially more negative."

So while Yogi Berra's mantra of "You can observe a lot by watching" may be true, Biesanz says, mere observation comes at the cost of substantial bias.

From romance to likeability

How we create first impressions is also important in the context of finding a romantic partner. Recent research suggests that whether someone meets a potential mate online versus in person can dramatically change their judging process.

"People are more likely to use abstract information to make their evaluations in hypothetical than in live impression formation contexts," says Paul Eastwick of the University of Texas, Austin, who is presenting results of his studies on gender differences in different romantic contexts. When men and women evaluate potential partners in person versus online, typical gender differences in ideal preferences disappear.

In general, men say they care about attractiveness in a partner more than women, and women say they care about earning prospects in a partner more than men. "But our meta-analysis reveals that men and women do not show these sex differences when they evaluate others in a face-to-face context," Eastwick says. "That is, attractiveness inspires men's and women's romantic evaluations to the same extent, and earning prospects inspires men's and women's romantic evaluations to the same extent."

The research suggests that in live face-to-face settings, people rely more on their gut-level evaluations of another person. "They focus on how that person makes them feel," Eastwick says. "It is very hard to get a sense of this information when simply viewing a profile. This disconnect can cause confusion and distress in the online dating realm, as potential partners that seem terrific 'on paper' prove to be disappointing after a face-to-face interaction."

Beyond the online dating realm, Vivian Zayas of Cornell University, Gül Günaydin of Middle East Technical University, and colleague have found that viewing a photograph can be a a good predictor of how you will judge someone in person. "Despite the well-known idiom to 'not judge a book by its cover,' the present research shows that such judgments about the cover are good proxies for judgments about the book-even after reading it," says Zayas, who is chairing a session at the SPSP conference called "When to Judge a Book by Its Cover: Timing, Context, and Individual Differences in First Impressions."

Zayas' new research shows that initial impressions based on viewing a single photograph accurately predict how a person will feel about the other person in a live interaction that takes place more than 1 month later. "Moreover, participants' initial judgments based on the photograph colored personality judgments following the interaction," Zayas says. "The results showed that initial liking judgments based on a photograph remained unchanged even after obtaining more information about a person via an actual live interaction."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Psychologists awarded £250,000 to delve inside the minds of contemporary dancers

Reminiscing can help boost mental performance

Receiving gossip about others promotes self-reflection and growth

Brain simulation raises questions

Researchers record sight neurons in jumping spider brain

Mathematical model shows how the brain remains stable during learning

Male and female brains aren't equal when it comes to fat

Identifying hidden minds in impaired consciousnessIdentifying hidden minds in impaired consciousness

Scientists find 'hidden brain signatures' of consciousness in vegetative state patientsScientists find 'hidden brain signatures' of consciousness in vegetative state patients

Brain's compass relies on geometric relationships, say researchersBrain's compass relies on geometric relationships, say researchers

Oh brother! Having a sibling makes boys selfless

New look at neuroscience draws experts to ASU

Brain surgery through the cheekBrain surgery through the cheek

Change your walking style, change your mood

Risking your life without a second thought



Archives
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Sports Tech
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.