Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Confidence is key to gauging impressions we make

11.03.2010
The gift of "seeing ourselves as others see us" is particularly beneficial when we judge how we've made a first impression — in a job interview, during a sales pitch or on a first date.

Yet, many come away from these situations with at best a vague notion of how that first impression was perceived or at worst no clue at all.

Now, psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis and Wake Forest University have tested people in first impression settings in the laboratory and have found that confidence makes all the difference in knowing whether you've hit a homerun or struck out.

Erika N. Carlson, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences; her advisor Simine Vazire, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology; and Wake Forest University's R. Michael Furr, Ph.D., engaged some 280 students in opposite-sex pairings from both universities in five-minute conversation after which impressions (your rating of your partner's personality traits) and metaperceptions (your rating of how you think your partner rated your personality traits) were recorded on 60 personality items (such as nice, funny, outgoing), which were rated on a scale from 1 to 7.

There was a twist to their study. The researchers asked a confidence question: How confident are you in your estimation of how your partner sees your personality?

"In the past, researchers hadn't asked whether you know when you're accurate in first impressions, nor your degree of confidence," Carlson says.

"We found that people who were poor at making good meta-impressions were less confident than people who made accurate ones. So, after making a first impression, if you're confident in your judgment, you're likely to be right."

The research was recently published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

At the crux of knowing you've made a good impression is something called calibration, or "being confident when you're right and uncertain when you're wrong," says Vazire. "Not well-calibrated people are confident when they're wrong and uncertain when they're right.

The confidence and accuracy questions in our study shed light on participants' calibration."

She likens accurate calibration to a sort of internal gauge.

"You think, 'This is the impression I think I made.' And the internal gauge tells you to go ahead with that impression, you're probably right," she says. "Or, gather more information, you might be wrong. So, well-calibrated people have a good internal gauge."

The goal of their research is to enable people to trust the confidence of their first impressions and pursue the next step, Carlson says.

When you have misjudged the way others see you, the result is often a bad decision, says Carlson. "You might have thought that the date you went on went well and she liked you, but it went wrong in the date's eyes and she doesn't like you. Your next move could be embarrassing and painful," she says.

We're sometimes wrong about the impressions we've made, Vazire says.

"We might think that obviously the other person could tell that I hated them, or that I obviously liked them, or obviously my brilliance came across, but we've all been wrong, so it's important in any number of social settings when to actually doubt how you've come across," she says.

Future metaperception research will explore videotaped first impression interactions from calibration studies to determine which factors affect calibration, like verbal or non-verbal clues, which might reveal who formed accurate metaperceptions and who didn't, who was wellcalibrated and who wasn't, and perhaps more importantly, why people understood the impressions they made. Such clues could be in overt behaviors like talking rates, smiles, how close the participants sat to each other, or more subjective things like the intimacy of the conversation.

Carlson says there is some preliminary evidence that when one person is more accurate in metaperceptions, their partner also is, suggesting that there might be something unique to relationships that influences whether we can pick up on the impression we've made.

With the exception of someone like Michael Scott (the totally clueless boss in the TV sitcom "The Office"), people have a surprising level of self-knowledge in judging their first impressions, says Carlson.

"For the most part, people understand when they're right and when they're wrong," she says. "If you want to know if you've made the right impression, trust your gut."

Gerry Everding | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>