First Impressions

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We’ve all done it. We meet that perfect someone at a cocktail party, impress them with our expertise in Egyptian Art and Tuscan cooking, along with witty reflections on attending a recent high school reunion. We exchange numbers and then wait for the phone to ring. And it doesn’t.

Then there’s that uncomfortable suspicion that maybe what we thought was a great first impression wasn’t. There are researchers who tell us it takes just eight seconds for the average person to size us up; to take full account of the clothes we’re wearing, our haircut, even how we talk. All these clues lead someone to make a snap decision about who we are. From the other side of the looking glass, the psychology of the first impression.


Ann Demarais and Valerie White, psychologists and co-authors of “First Impressions: What you don’t know about how others see you.”