In the blink of an eye, we judge people too quickly on 5 key traits and the trouble is, first impressions aren’t always accurate but how we behave is heavily influenced by that first judgement. And in the end, nobody wins. So what are judging and how can we limit the risk to our relationships?
Are you ignorant, an idiot or just plain evil?
American journalist and author, Kathryn Schulz wrote a big book called “Being Wrong — Adventures in the Margin of Error”, an in-depth analysis on human behaviour. In talking about our minds and our beliefs, she explains a common sequence that we go through when someone disagrees with us. It looks something like this:
“You’re just ignorant”
When someone first disagrees with us, we conclude that it’s just because they don’t have the right information, they’re ill-informed.
When they still don’t agree with us, we shake our heads, throw our hands in the air and accept that they just don’t know how to use their brain properly.
“You are pure evil.”
And finally, when they persist in disagreeing with us, they must be wilfully choosing to deny it. Just winding us up.
It’s easy to fall into these classic judgements, especially when we are fixated on our own pre-determined ideal outcome.
And we judge others in less than a blink of an eye. In 100-milliseconds to be precise.
In some modest experiments by Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov around 2005/2006 at Princeton University, they concluded that in as little as a tenth of a second of looking at someone’s face, we judge them by their facial features of expression, something known as physiognomy.
We need very little information to create an impression of someone and that first impression isn’t always accurate and yet our behaviour is heavily influenced by that first judgement of someone.