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First Impressions

Introduction
The “First Impressions” experiment is a computer-based version of a classic study conducted by Hamilton and Gifford (1976). Basically, the original study aimed at the revealing the impact of the first impression on the perception of individuals. The researchers attempted to reveal the extent to which the first impression can affect judgments made by individuals. In their study Hamilton and Gifford arrived to the conclusion that people tend to notice two rare or distinctive events co-occur. This means that people can remain unaware of a possible co-occurrence of insignificant events, which they simply fail to notice or remember, while distinctive or rare events stay in their memory and, what is more important, they influence individuals’ judgments they make about the distinctive events as well as people involved in them. In such a context, the computer-based test is particularly noteworthy since it allows verifying the outcomes of the experiment conducted by Hamilton and Gifford and revealing whether their conclusions were correct or not. At the same time, this experiment is very important to research directly the influence of first impressions on individuals’ perception since due to new technologies, the test is available not only for professionals but also for students who study psychology and such experiments are very helpful and useful for them as they can acquire new empirical evidence of findings of other researchers, namely Hamilton and Gifford.

Methods
The stimulus materials are 39 facial caricatures of male and female adults differing in age and race. The faces were selected from a clip art collection of prominent people, though the ones used in this 39-person set are highly unlikely to be recognizable to participants.
The task for participants is to learn something about the people whose faces make up the task stimuli. They do so by clicking on each face in the 39-face set. When a face is clicked, a text balloon pops up with information about the person. The 39 statements are given in Appendix A. The information designates the person as either an Alpha Delta or a Beta Omicron and describes a positive or a negative act or attribute of the person that. The pairing of a face with information about the face is random with the constraint that there are 26 Alpha Deltas to 13 Beta Omicrons and that there are 18 positive and 8 negative acts by Alpha Deltas and 9 positive and 4 negative acts by Beta Omicrons. The information produced by a mouse click remains on the screen until the mouse is released. This permits people to read and process the information at their own pace. Once the mouse in released, the face is greyed out, and the information about the face cannot be re-displayed.
Once all 39 faces are clicked, a set of 7-pt Likert scales appear on the screen. Participants indicate their impressions of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons using these rating scales. The ratings are made for the three positive attributes (popular, honest, and helpful) and three negative attributes (lazy, unhappy, and irresponsible). Scores from these separate scales are available in the data output along with a composite measure of the ratings on positive attributes and negative attributes. A final dependent measure is a rating of the proportion of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons who revealed negative things about themselves.
Results
The results of the research reveal the fact that basically the computer-based version supports the results of /the study conducted by Hamilton and Gifford. To put it more precisely, the results of the “First Impressions” experiment basically reveal quite close answers of the participants of the experiment. The “First Impressions” experiment has six ratings which include answers of the participants of the experiments, who should rate Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons according to six scales: popular, honest, helpful, lazy, unhappy and irresponsible. The participants of the experiment rated Alpha Deltas as popular from 4 to 7 that means that their rating of popularity varies from average to high, according to the participants of the experiment. As for Beta Omicrons, they are perceived by the participants as less popular since their rating of popularity varies from 3 to 6, though the difference is not really striking. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning the fact that the participants of the experiment tended to rate the popularity of Beta Omicrons lower than that of Alpha Delta since low scores, such as 3 and 4 prevail in Beta Omicrons’ rating of popularity, while at average their popularity is 4,3, while that of Alpha Deltas’ 5.
The difference between Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons is substantially more significant in the rating of their honesty. Basically, the participants believe that Beta Omicrons are more honest than Alpha Deltas. According to the results of the experiments, the average Beta Omicrons rating of honesty is 4,8, while that of Alpha Deltas is only 3,9. At the same time, both Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons are considered to be helpful by the participants since Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons scored 5,2 and 5,0 respectively. The similar trends is typical for the rating of laziness of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons since their scores are similar and constitute 3,5 and 3,6 respectively. Furthermore, Beta Omicrons are perceived by the participants of the experiment as more unhappy than Alpha Deltas since Beta Omicrons rating of unhappiness scores 3,8, while that of Alpha Deltas’ scores 3. Nevertheless, the rating of irresponsibility of both Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons is quite close since Alpha Deltas’ rating of irresponsibility scores 3,9, while that of Beta Omicrons scores 3,7.
In such a way, it is possible to define the basic positive and negative ratings of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons on the basis of the six ratings. The results of the experiment show that the rating of positive characteristics of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons are similar and constitute 14,13 for both at average. In contrast, the rating of negative characteristics of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons differs consistently, negative characteristics are more attributed to Beta Omicrons constituting 11,3 at average compared to 10,5 to Alpha Deltas. Hence, it is obvious that Beta Omicrons are perceived by the participants of the experiments as individuals having more negative characteristics than Alpha Betas. However, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that the experiment was based on first impressions and, thus, judgments of participants are highly subjective and based on scarce information available to them that means that their judgments on Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons are quite superficial.
Discussion
The results of the experiment basically prove findings of Hamilton and Gifford. In this respect, it should be said that the participants involved in the experiment grounded their judgments on Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons on the basis of their first impressions. They did not have any detailed information on Alpha Deltas and Beta omicrons. Instead, the only information they had were brief pieces of information, some facts, which uncover some events from the life of Alpha Deltas and beta Omicrons. Obviously, this information was insufficient for making adequate, substantial judgments of personality of the stimulus materials, which were faces of 39 facial caricatures of males and females. The participants could had only a superficial view on personalities and they rather fancied the personality of each of the individuals. What is meant here is the fact that the participants used their own imagination and their subjective views and beliefs to assess the personality of each of the Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons to close the gap between the scarce information they had got and their own interpretation of this scarce information to rate Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons in accordance to the suggested scale.
Nevertheless, the scarcity of information did not lead to absolutely contrasting responses of the participants. In stark contrast, all their responses are quite similar and basically it is possible to trace common trends in responses of the participants. At the same time, the participants could not be affected by any other factor but their first impressions of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons. In this respect, the selection of caricatures was very important because faces used in the experiment represent people of different gender, age, and ethnicity. This means that there are no significant variables that could really influence the perception and judgments made by the participants but the information they got from what Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons said about themselves.
At the same time, it is obvious that the participants were particularly sensitive to distinctive, unusual or rare events which were described by Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons. What is meant here is the low diversity in judgments and conclusions made by the participants of the experiment reveal the fact that they were influenced by similar events described by Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons and they rather made their judgments on the basis of the existing biases which are common to any average individual that could have been involved in the experiment. For instance, the information about stealing something may draw the attention of an average individual that can be involved in the experiment and it is likely that the participant will treat the individual confessing in stealing something as a dishonest person.
On the other hand, routine information about work and normal life of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons did not draw much attention. Moreover, it is even possible to estimate that such information is not even perceived by the participants of the experiment as valuable because they do not really store this information in their memory. Probably, this is why the participants of the experiment have used rarely maximal and minimal scale points to score rating of Alpha Deltas and Beta Omicrons. For instance, scores varying from 3 to 5 are quite common to all of the participants, while the use of 1 and 7 are almost exceptional or, at any rate, very seldom. In such a situation, distinctive and rare events were particularly important for the participants to make definite judgments which allowed them to use maximal or minimal points such as 1 or 7, as well as 2 and 6.
Furthermore, the “First Impressions” experiment proves that the similarity of evaluations of the participants reveals the fact that basically their views are similar concerning distinctive events which allowed the participants to make judgments easily using their stereotypes, biases and beliefs concerning such concepts as happiness, honesty, irresponsibility, etc.
Thus, the experiment proves that Hamilton and Gifford were right and their study is relevant in regard to the impact of first impressions on judgments people can make about others. At the same time, distinctive and rare events are particularly important in this regard, to the extent that they can shape human perception of certain events or individuals.

References:

This article I wrote with hepl of Insta Casino review.

Collins, J. “First Impressions.” Online Psychology Laboratory. Retrieved on January 4, 2009 from http://opl.apa.org/Experiments/About/...

Garcia-Marques, L., & Hamilton D.L. (1996). Resolving the apparent discrepancy between
the congruency effect and the expectancy-based illusory correlation effect.
The TRAP model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 845-860.

Hamilton, D.L., & Gifford, R.K. (1976). Illusory correlation in interpersonal perception: A cognitive basis of stereotypic judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,
12, 392-407.

Hamilton, D.L., & Sherman, S.J. (1996). Perceiving persons and groups.
Psychological Review, 103, 336-355.

Jackson, J.W. (2000). Demonstrating the concept of illusory correlation.
Teaching of Psychology, 27, 273-276.

Matthews, R.A. (1996). Base-rate errors and rain forecasts. Nature, 382, 766.
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