Essay about The Influence of First Impressions

Essay about The Influence of First Impressions

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“Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.”
(Holmes, O.W., 1911)

If life is a stage, then as casual observers with first impressions of our friend John, we are also actors in the play. I may cast my first impressions about John. Moreover, how we view these two situations have as much to say about us than it does about John.

How Do First Impressions Strike Us? Our brain processes and integrates a variety of input factors that help us arrive at a “first impression.” This “brain process” functions like a road map that assists us in reaching a conclusion, with a high amount of accuracy in as little as thirty seconds (Schiller, D., Freeman, J., Mitchell, J., Uleman, J., & Phelps, E., 2009). Although there maybe a variety of factors that could influence this process. I submit that the greatest influence on a first impression is your “needs framework.”

There are five hierarchal levels of needs listed in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, A., 1968). Beginning with the lowest level: Physiological, an individual ideally satisfies and progresses through each step toward fulfillment. The remaining steps in order are: Safety, Love and Belonging, Esteem, then Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence. So, how does this need framework influence our process of the first impression of other individuals?
First Impressions “strike us” because when the opportunity of forming a first impression is presented to us, we put our current needs framework ahead of the first impression we are about to make about the other person. The needs we most value and protect drive our self-interest and provide the filter in which we form our impressions and assumptions about another person. ...


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...14. doi:10.1038/nn.2278

Maslow, A. (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being. (2nd ed.). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Tay, L., Diener, E. (2011). Needs and subjective well-being around the world.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 101(2), Aug 2011, 354-365. doi: 10.1037/a0023779

Maslow, A. (1968).. Toward a Psychology of Being. (2nd ed.). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Weisbuch, M., Ambady, N., Clarke, A.L., Achor, S., & Weele, J. (2010). On Being Consistent: The Role of Verbal–Nonverbal Consistency in First Impressions. Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 32(3), 261-268. doi: 10.1080/01973533.2010.495659

Carl Gustav Jung. (2010). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Ambivert. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/ambivert

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