First Impressions  book cover
1st Edition

First Impressions

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ISBN 9781593857165
Published July 31, 2008 by Guilford Press
368 Pages

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Book Description

Grounded in cutting-edge theory and research, this book brings together leading investigators to examine how first impressions are formed; the psychological, biological, and evolutionary processes that underlie them; and their consequences for individuals and society. Chapters present compelling findings on what people infer about others from such cues as facial features, expressions, skin tones, physical movements, and the environmental context. Factors that make first impressions more or less accurate are identified, including the type of inference being made as well as the impact of perceiver characteristics and stereotyping. The book also reveals the significant impact of first impressions--positive or negative--on emotions, cognitions, and behavior.

Table of Contents


I. Biological Aspects

1. Evolutionary Bases of First Impressions, Mark Schaller

2. First Impressions: Peeking at the Neural Underpinnings, Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady

3. The Biology of Mind Reading, Bhismadev Chakrabarti and Simon Baron-Cohen

II. Functionality

4. Who Draws Accurate First Impressions?: Personal Correlates of Sensitivity to Nonverbal Cues, Judith A. Hall and Susan A. Andrzejewski

5. To What Extent, and under What Conditions, Are First Impressions Valid?, Heather M. Gray

6. Zero Acquaintance: Definitions, Statistical Model, Findings, and Process, David A. Kenny and Tessa V. West

7. You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression: Behavioral Consequences of First Impressions, Monica J. Harris and Christopher P. Garris

III. Facial Cues

8. First Impressions from Facial Appearance Cues, Leslie A. Zebrowitz and Joann M. Montepare

9. Social Categorization and Beyond: How Facial Features Impact Social Judgment, Keith B. Maddox and Kristin N. Dukes

10. The Role of Facial Expression in Person Perception, Ursula Hess, Reginald B. Adams, Jr., and Robert E. Kleck

11. Putting Facial Expressions Back in Context, Hillel Aviezer, Ran R. Hassin, Shlomo Bentin, and Yaacov Trope

IV. Behavioral and Environmental Cues

12. Remnants of the Recent Past: Influences of Priming on First Impressions, Max Weisbuch, Christian Unkelbach, and Klaus Fiedler

13. Spontaneous Impressions Derived from Observations of Behavior: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been (and It’s Not Over Yet), John J. Skowronski, Donal E. Carlston, and Jessica Hartnett

14. First Impressions Based on the Environments We Create and Inhabit, Samuel D. Gosling, Sam Gaddis, and Simine Vazire

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Nalini Ambady, PhD, until her death in 2013, was Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She was formerly Professor and Neubauer Faculty Fellow at Tufts University. Her research interests focused on the accuracy of social, emotional, and perceptual judgments; how personal and social identities affect cognition and performance; and nonverbal and cross-cultural communication. She examined these phenomena from multiple perspectives, ranging from the biological to the sociocultural. Dr. Ambady was a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Behavioral Science Research Award, and the American Psychological Association Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics) Dissertation Award.

John J. Skowronski, PhD, is Presidential Research Professor at Northern Illinois University. He has published numerous studies exploring impression formation and social cognition, and has also published extensively in the area of autobiographical memory. Dr. Skowronski has served as Associate Editor of Social Cognition, is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


"The editors of this important book were pioneers of the scientific research that validated the folk wisdom of the power of first impressions. They have now assembled a stellar cast of contributors with longstanding research programs in this area. The book features some of the most exciting research in psychology today, including groundbreaking studies of the evolutionary and neurobiological underpinnings of first impressions, when they can (or cannot) be trusted, and how and why they have such power in interpersonal relationships. Reading this valuable work may change your thinking about the sophistication and depth with which we so quickly appraise other people, coming to feel we 'know' them in more or less the blink of an eye."--John A. Bargh, PhD, James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, Yale University

"First Impressions solidly represents the rich tradition of highly controlled laboratory studies that aim at understanding social-cognitive processes of priming, interpretation, and association. Its special contribution is to place these processes in context, considering evolutionary hypotheses; brain systems involved in 'mindreading'; the range of facial, behavioral, and even environmental cues used by social perceivers; and the accuracy of the resulting first impressions. This book will be an unparalleled resource for researchers and graduate students in social psychology, and could serve as a text for advanced undergraduates or graduate students."--Eliot R. Smith, PhD, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University

Edited by two leading investigators in the  field and bringing together an impressive array of experts, the book is  well organised and well written, offering a balance of classic and  cutting-edge findings....First Impressions succeeds in its mandate to  provide a broad overview of what we currently know about the processes  and moderators involved in impression formation. In so doing, it  fulfills an important role, in that no other volume currently exists to  organise our knowledge about impression formationarguably one of the  most central topics in social psychology....Not only a useful reference  for researchers looking for an overview of the field, but it would also  be suitable as a teaching tool for both graduate and senior  undergraduate students, demonstrating to them the significant advances  that have been made and enticing them with opportunities for further  discovery.
--Canadian Psychology, 11/3/2009