The Force of First Impressions

There is more than a literal truth to the saying that "you never get a second chance to make a first impression," suggests emerging international research.

Experts have discovered that new experiences that contradict a first impression become "bound" to the context in which they were made, whereas first impressions still dominate in other contexts. "Imagine you have a new colleague at work and your impression of that person is not very favorable," said lead author Bertram Gawronski. "A few weeks later, you meet your colleague at a party and you realize he is actually a very nice guy. Although you know your first impression was wrong, your gut response to your new colleague will be influenced by your new experience only in contexts that are similar to the party. However, your first impression will still dominate in all other contexts."

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Image: Pew Research Center
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