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By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 4, 2009

Apparently first impressions are important when the intent is to communicate personality through appearance.

The finding, by University of Texas researchers is significant given the ubiquity of social media communication opportunities.

According to background information in the article, the role of physical appearance in creating first impressions has not been thoroughly investigated.

Psychologists Laura Naumann of Sonoma State University and Sam Gosling address this issue as the authors examined the accuracy of personality impressions based on appearance alone.

Their findings will be published in the December issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“In an age dominated by social media where personal photographs are ubiquitous, it becomes important to understand the ways personality is communicated via our appearance,” says Naumann.

“The appearance one portrays in his or her photographs has important implications for their professional and social life.”

In the study, observers viewed full-body photographs of 123 people they had never met before. The targets were viewed either in a controlled pose with a neutral facial expression or in a naturally expressed pose.

The accuracy of the judgments was gauged by comparing them to the aggregate of self-ratings and that of three informants who knew the targets well, a criterion now widely regarded as the gold standard in personality research.

Even when viewing the targets in the controlled pose, the observers could accurately judge some major personality traits, including extraversion and self-esteem. But most traits were hard to detect under these conditions. When observers saw naturally expressive behavior (such as a smiling expression or energetic stance), their judgments were accurate for nine of the 10 personality traits.

The 10 traits were extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness, likability, self-esteem, loneliness, religiosity and political orientation.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/11/04/when-first-impressions-count/9329.html

First Impressions Are Important For Trusting Relationship 

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor

In relationships built on trust, a bad first impression can be harder to overcome than a betrayal that occurs after ties are established, a new study suggests.

While betraying trust is never good for a relationship, the results show that early violations can be particularly devastating, and plant seeds of doubt that may never go away, said Robert Lount, co-author of the study and assistant professor at Ohio State University.

“First impressions matter when you want to build a lasting trust,” Lount said.

“If you get off on the wrong foot, the relationship may never be completely right again. It’s easier to rebuild trust after a breach if you already have a strong relationship.”

While the importance of first impressions may seem obvious, Lount said there is still a common theme in popular culture that suggests many great relationships start off badly.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/01/08/first-impressions-are-important-for-trusting-relationship/3600.html

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