Chapter 22- Social Perception.

Do you believe that first impressions are more influential than later impressions? If so, why?
(note: most of my answers are generalising and I wrote this before I actually read the chapter. So my answer wasn’t influenced )

Firstly, I’d like to think about why first impressions are so important. I agree with the general opinion that first impressions are important because they are the foundation in which a friendship is built upon. When you first meet a person you attempt to make a social connection with them; you would do so by finding out what you have in common with the person. People generally want to be liked in social situations, therefore people will adopt a pleasant, friendly attitude in the presence of others to ensure they gain the approval of their peers. This is because all humans are social beings that need to interact with others. In order to create a normal social-life or new friendship one must convey an impressive persona. By this I mean, people behave in a way that would ensure that they are socially accepted by other people. The first time that you meet someone is significant because there will be a lot of focus and attention on the other person and situation. Which differs from social situations that occur when you have already gained approval and friendship. You no longer need to impress, simply because you’ve already done so. General traits of people involved in a first impression situation include being: passive, polite, fun and like-minded to the other person. A person trying to gain a friend would be easy-going. They would be happy to oblige in any suggestions to appear fun. It’s very likely that there would be very few or no disagreements, they would want the other person to be aware of how similar they both are, so they would ensure that they are like-minded. This differs greatly to people that already know each other well. Their behavioural traits would include: honesty and stubbornness. People who have already been accepted are much more likely to disagree and say exactly what they think. However this is just generalising. People often lie to spare someone feeling mentally hurt, this would continue throughout a friendship and not just in the beginning. They also wouldn’t be afraid of being stubborn, they would refuse to do something, without a care about appearing boring (again, just generalising).
I think you would be more influenced by a person when you  first meet because, it would be memorable, as so much effort would be put into the situation in which you are trying to create this connection. However mostly I disagree that first impressions are more influential because when you are mentally close to a person, after a lot of time has past and a stable friendship has been created, then you are more likely to be influenced by them. This is because you trust their judgement and opinions. People also fear disappointing people that they know well, therefore you may act in a way that would keep this person happy. Also the more time you spend with someone the more influence they will have over you. (why?)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dazz22
    Jan 20, 2011 @ 02:16:37

    You make a lot of good observations here that I agree with. First impressions are important. If we acted exactly as we normally act to somebody we don’t know we would be liable to disagree with them on a number of things and these disagreements would stay in their mind. They may think that they don’t have much in common with us. And maybe that would be true. But sometimes you need to stick around a bit longer and get to know somebody even if it means changing how you act so that you appear to have things in common. People need to feel that if they invest time in becoming friends with you that it could be a lasting friendship.
    But I don’t think first impressions are as important as later impressions. As you get to know somebody you relax and start to be yourself. You are less afraid of upsetting them. And if you remain good friends whilst being honest and true to yourself then these are usually the best kind of friends. And if you lose touch then maybe you don’t have so much in common. We crave acceptance in general and when we don’t know people they are just part of the world that we need to accept us. But when we know them well they become an individual and it’s one person’s opinion. And one negative opinion towards us is insignificant compared to general dislike from the majority of people we meet. And if we have decided that we don’t really like a person after getting to know them then their opinion will matter even less to us. And this is when our true impressions of people come out.
    That’s my take on it and it’s how I would answer it. It’s pretty much how you see things too so it’s a valid opinion


    • kayl18
      Jan 20, 2011 @ 02:49:28

      Thanks for your comment. I think we agree entirely. Only in my answer I focused a little too much on first impressions, however I went on to say that, later impressions are more important and influential. So, this is good. At the moment I feel like Psychology is a new world and when I write my answers, I fear that I’m basically rambling on about stuff that I don’t fully understand (Which in truth, of course, I don’t). It will be helpful to have either another view on things or agreement from someone logical. That’s where you come in with your comments.


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