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Psychology First Impression Essay

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The aim of the research was to carry out a similar study of Luchins(1957) which found that the first piece of information received about an individual often bears more weight ( stronger ) than information gained later so as to see whether first impression is relevant in the 21st century. The alternative hypothesis is that there will be a significant difference in the number of positive and negative ranting between the positive primacy group and the negative primacy group.

Th is study was a field experiment with an independent groups design The independent variable was whether positive primacy story or negative primacy story given to the participant and the dependant variable was the number of positive or negative rating given to the character (Bob).

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On 21st June 2008 at about 12:30 pm, we went to the Chester – le-street front street, an opportunity sample of 30 participants (15 participants in each groups) 16-59 years old were used. There were two groups of participants reading either positive primacy story or negative primacy story.

For positive primacy story, the character (Bob) was described as extrovert first, then introvert and for negative primacy story, Bob was introvert first, then extrovert. Afterwards they were given a questionnaire to rate Bob in terms of certain personality traits. A chi square test was used to analysis the results. The Observed value of Chi squared was T = 20 and the Critical value was 3. 84 . As the observed value is higher than the critical value, the alternative hypothesis can be accepted at p less than or equal to 0. 05. Therefore, it seems from the earlier research that the order in which the information is received has an impact on impression formation.

Therefore, the aim of this research is to see whether the first impression is relevant in the 21st century (the first information received has a greater impact on impression formation than the second information). Introduction How do we form judgements and impressions of people? Within moments of meeting someone, we look at their appearance, clothing style, hair-style, language, accent or ethnicity, this makes us form an impression of a complete stranger within seconds of meeting him or her. These first impressions of others stem from the perceptions and judgements we make based on the first time we meet.

Have you even experienced that if the first impression of someone is unfavourable, a subsequent smile may be seen as a sneer or as insincere? One of the first major studies into impression formation was carried out by Asch (1946), he used two lists of six adjectives describing a person ( intelligent, industrious, impulsive, critical, stubborn and envious ) ,one was arranged in the above order, another was the reversal . Participants were asked to rate the person out of 10 (where 10 means a very positive impression of the person).

He found that those who read the first group of adjectives form a more positive impression of the person. His study suggested that a primacy effect occurs because the initial traits in a sequence set the stage for the interpretation for later traits. In effect, the meaning of each new adjective was interpreted in light of the ones already received. Asch’s contention was that the total assessment would reflect a dynamic process in which the separate traits would interact to form a unitary impression. In general, his study suggested that earlier traits have a greater influence on impression formation.

A study conducted by Luchins in 1957 also throws some light on how we form impressions. He aimed to see if the order of information in which they received affects their opinion. Participants were given a story to read about an imaginary person (Jim) who first appears to a cheerful character and then rather sad and lonely. A second group of participants are given the same information but in the reverse order. Afterwards all participants are asked to rate the person in the story in terms of certain personality traits.

He found that the participants who hear the story with the positive one first will rate the person more positively. Luchins suggested that impressions were strongly influenced by the order in which we receive information about people. The first information we receive is the most important and most likely to be remembered. Asch and Luchins used hypothetical people in their study. However, Jones et al (1968) used an actual person.

Participants watched a video of a student solving a set of multiple choice questions with the frequency of correct answers either increasing or decreasing, but actually the student always solved 15 out of the 30 correctly, participants were asked to rate the student ‘s intelligence, they judged the student as more intelligent when the first 15 were right (primacy effect), also, when asked to recall how many correct those who had seen student perform first 15 correct estimated 20/30 those who had seen the last 15 correct estimated 12/30.

These studies provide evidence for primacy effect – the greater impact of what we first learn about someone (first impressions) and suggest that once one determines they have an acceptable understanding of the information presented to them, they will pay less attention as more information is presented and only recall the first impression. In nowadays 21st century, many society factors have been changed, for example, internet is widely used over the world today, as well as many social networking websites e. g.

Facebook and MySpace, the effect of first impression might be changed. In order to investigate whether the primacy effect still prevails in today’s society. I will be adapting Luchins research and writing my own paragraphs – story 1 & 2(see appendices 1). I will be using 11 categories for participants to choose from in order to force a bias.

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