You’d Better Smile!

Smile Red

First Impressions Last a L-o-n-g Time.

The idiom ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ has only been around since the 1940s, but it is a phrase we still aim to live by.

Yet a new study reveals many of us fall short.  We form a first impression just from looking at a photograph of a person. Researchers found that by simply looking at a photo of a person predicts how we will feel about them – and that the first impression can last six months or more.

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?

Researchers believe it is a concept called behavioral confirmation or self-fulfilling prophecy.

Participants who said they liked the person in a photograph interacted more while face to face in a friendlier, more engaged way.

When someone is warmer, and engaged, people pick up on this.

Facial appearance colors how we feel about someone, and even how we think about who they are, said Vivian Zayas, professor of psychology at Cornell University. These facial cues are very powerful in shaping interactions, even in the presence of other information.

To come to this conclusion a researcher and her team instructed 55 participants to view photographs of four different women. Each woman had two pictures shown in the trial – in one they were smiling and in the other they had a neutral expression.

When each photo was presented, participants reported whether they would be friends with the woman, indicating likability, and whether her personality was extroverted, agreeable, emotionally stable, conscientious and open to new experiences.

Within one to six months after the visual portion of the study, the volunteers met the real women in the pictures – although they did not realize it was them.

Seeing them after those six months, volunteers held the same judgement as they made when first pictures. Be self-aware of how you present yourself in order to make a GOOD lasting impression.

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