What is a “First Impression?”
Whether its an interview, first day of school, or just going out into public you always hear the same advice, “First impressions are everything!” This can be the way you dress or the first words that you speak to someone, but the first impression someone perceives of you is almost immediate. Psychology shows us that one of the first things that we look for when initially introduced to another is similarity. When similarities are found between two, the common ground is one that sheds a positive light on the potential friendships (Psychology Today). This is an idea that finally has some research to back it up and show us that the first impression you leave to someone can be a detrimental factor in a future relationship with that person (abcnews.com).
At the Ohio State University in Columbus, a study was done of 164 college freshman that lasted over a 9-week period. The students were split into groups of males and females for the researcher did not want any romantic interactions to occur due to the blending of genders. The null hypothesis of the study is that the first impression that is made and the relationships developed in 9 weeks will have no relation. The alternative hypothesis of this study will be that the first impression that is made will have an effect on the relationships that are developed in 9 weeks. After being split into groups, the students were then randomized and paired with another student for periods of three, six, or nine minute conversations. Immediately after the conversation, researchers asked the students if they thought that there was a chance of being good friends and developing a relationship with that partner. The students then were watched over the 9 week period to check on the status of that friendship. Over the 9 weeks students were required to interact with other students that were also apart of the study (abcnews.com).
What can be found from the study?
After the conclusion of the nine week study, it was found that partners who had a positive outlook after the first impression had the strongest friendships throughout the group of students. This correlation held consistent whether the initial interaction was for three, six, or nine minutes, the difference in time held no barriers furthering the impact of initial interaction. In this experiment, the conclusions will show us that the null hypothesis is rejected due to the fact that first impressions do have an effect on future relationships that can be created.
The articles will go on to explain that there are some instances where a strong relationship can be built, even if the initial first impression was negative. This is just how human interaction works, sometimes first impressions are wrong, but nonetheless very important. A sudden judgement is made, simply by human nature, on the very first sight you may lay on someone you have never met before. The saying, in my opinion, continues to be true and it’s smart to listen to someone when they tell you, “First impression is everything!”