In the course of this assignment completion I have noticed a lot of interesting things. The fact that I had to analyze my impressions of unfamiliar person helped me understand, in which spheres I am too much influenced by various schemas. Analysis of my relations with a familiar person helped me see one more time how I can form wrong impression, even not realizing it at first. In this paper I am going to describe what factors are the most important for me when forming my impression of people and due to what reasons I sometimes make mistakes in my judgments.
So, the first person I will analyze will be a shop assistant in a large supermarket. I went there to buy several things and wanted to find someone who could help me with the choice. I saw a pleasant girl near one of the shelves and decided to ask her for advice. So, my goal was to receive certain information from her. She looked nice to me, as she wore strict ironed clothes and smiled politely to a woman talking to her at the moment I saw her. After certain analysis, I now understand that usually I start judging about people by their salient features (in this case it was a smile on her face) and by physical cues (in the case of this girl it was carefully selected clothes) (Taylor, Peplau & Sears, 2006; Macrae & Bodenhausen, 2001).
When I came to her and asked my questions, I quickly received all the necessary answers, which meant that my first impression in this case didn’t let me down. I understood that this girl was intelligent, as there was the kind of look that I usually associated with such people (exemplars in my memory). Also the way she spoke, as well as her non-verbal language showed that she was an interesting person who definitely possessed all the necessary knowledge to work in the store (Campanella & Belin, 2007). I also noticed potential for her career development in this sphere, as first of all I saw her interest in what she spoke about and understood that it was important to her. I am sure that this girl has a bright future.
Another person I am going to describe is my father’s friend. I first met him at home when my family invited him for dinner and a friendly chat. I knew that I will meet this person in future and I wanted to become friends with him as well, as my father told me that he was an interesting person. Still, at that time I didn’t know why.
When I first saw him, I thought that he was a successful businessman, probably single with huge ambitions and positive life perception. I thought so because he looked relaxed, confident, tidy and pleasant. It was a classic example of fundamental attribution error, as I now understand, as I didn’t even suppose that he had four children and is happily married (Church et al., 2006; Macrae et al., 2002; O'Sullivan, 2003). I think that I didn’t see it, as he wasn’t wary and tired-looking. In fact, he was just very happy with his life and succeeded to establish such a regime in his life that he didn’t look tired as in a classical way fathers often do. In this case for me the most important thing was his physical appearance and the way he behaved, as it formed my first impression, which turned out to be only partially right.
On the whole, I think that it is important to understand what influences my person perception formation pattern so as to be able to pay my attention to features that really matter, instead of building the whole impression totally on stereotypes. I am sure that in future this realization will help me a lot.
Campanella, S., & Belin, P. (2007). Integrating face and voice in person perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(12), 535-543.
Church, A., Katigbak, M., Del Prado, A., Ortiz, F., Mastor, K., Harumi, Y., et al. (2006). Implicit theories and self-perceptions of traitedness across cultures: Toward integration of cultural and trait psychology perspectives. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 37(6), 694-716.
Macrae, C.N., & Bodenhausen, G.V. (2001). Social cognition: Categorical person perception. British Journal of Psychology, 92(1), 239-255.
Macrae, C.N., Hood, B.M., Milne, A.B., Rowe, A.C., & Mason, M.F. (2002). Are You Looking at Me? Eye Gaze and Person Perception. Psychological Science, 13(5), 460-464.
O'Sullivan, M. (2003). The Fundamental Attribution Error in Detecting Deception: The Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf Effect. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(10), 1316-1327.
Taylor, S.E., Peplau, L.A., & Sears, D.O. (2006). Social psychology (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.