Do First Impressions Really Matter That Much?

May 2, 2011

Today’s post questions the importance of first impressions. Do they really matter that much? Or is it more about a person’s personality after you’ve met them that really makes the difference in the long term.

In a recent post by lifehacker (full post here), a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology was covered.

In the article, the study tries to draw a comparison between the neighbors in a neighborhood and their nicely kept lawns. Neighbors are shown 20 photos of others, and the conclusion that was drawn was that those with well-kept lawns tended to be rated more trustworthy than their counterparts. This study seems lacking in that it doesn’t take into account any personal biases the surveyed people may have. It does present an interesting point though.
What if in college, the first (and potentially lasting) impressions of you were based on the cleanliness of your apartment. In this scenario, the cleanliness of your roommate could potentially set a false impression about you in front of others. In addition, in the business world, the cleanliness of a person’s attire can pervey a message of organization or laziness. And most importantly if you have sloppy roommates, an overstuff trashcan or pile of dirty dishes could potentially be used as a reason to judge you negatively.

So what exactly is the solution. Is it possible to train to be viewed positively? In summary, we don’t know, but make sure to at least comb your hair your first day in college, it could play a big role!

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