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Lecture 1.8: What Other People Think of You

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Last time we focused on thin slice research, showing that social judgments can be made with surprising speed and accuracy, even when they're based on just a single photo or the sound of somebody's voice, or a few brief video clips of behavior. But what about judgments made in person? For example, suppose you were applying for a job. Person's a total stranger to you. How long would it take the job interviewer to form an impression of you? To help answer that question, I want to share an excerpt from a wonderful British program called, The Human Zoo. >> We want to learn more about first impressions. How are they formed? How long does it take? It's a big day for these three women. They're competing for a secretarial job starting Monday morning, and we've been allowed in to film their interviews. They've got 15 minutes each to prove their worth, or have they? We're about to find out how long it really takes to make a lasting impression. The candidates will be facing Judy Fisher, a recruitment consultant with 30 years experience. We've given her this dial, which is connected to our control room hidden away in an adjoining office. There, we're effectively going to read Judy's mind. [SOUND] This machine will make a trace of her thought processes. If Judy's impressed, she'll turn her dial up, that will produce a trace high on the screen. If she's underwhelmed, she'll turn it down and the trace will sink. Everything will be scrutinized by occupational psychologist Terry Kellard. [SOUND] >> Bridget. >> Hi. >> Hello. I'm Judy Fisher. Thanks for coming along, for being prepared to do this. We're going to talk first, well, Bridget, a little bit about what you've done. >> Mm-hm. >> And about what you're looking for. Then I'm going to tell you a little bit more about the job and we can take it from there. >> Great. >> Okay? >> Yeah. >> Bridget's been sitting down for just 12 seconds and said all of five words, but her trace has immediately gone up from an average reading of zero to an impressive 56. >> Let's just start with, I've got your CV here. >> Clearly she's got a positive impression. That is the most important bit of the interview. >> [INAUDIBLE]. >> That would have been based on what she looks like. >> [INAUDIBLE]. >> She looks like a PA. >> Yeah. I just, I like that. So, I'm good at that. >> Mm-hm. >> I'm efficient and fast, and I do as much of making sure I have things in order as possible. [CROSSTALK]. >> The trace remains high right till the end, finishing up nearly a hundred. Bridget's prospects look good. >> Well, you seem very focused. I'm sure you will. You've done really well. >> Thank you very much. [CROSSTALK]. >> Thank you so much. >> That's great. >> Bye. >> Bye-bye. >> When anybody meets anybody, anywhere for the first time, in order to process information, it is absolutely essential to make a judgment about this person. So, essentially, what people do is make up their mind about a person and what that person's like, generally within the first 15 seconds. >> Sometimes you could make your mind up so quickly that I just didn't give them the benefit of any further doubt. >> Well, I have to say that strong aftershave and strong perfume, for that matter, are one of my bete noirs. >> I would be very reluctant to employ a man with fair eyelashes. >> I can think of instances where I can't remember anything about what happened, or the person. All I can remember is this smell, coming towards me and wanting to get away from it badly. >> And all I could see through the glass table is the fact that she hadn't shaved her legs and there were these black hairs sort of just, like sprouting through the tights and I couldn't get beyond that. >> Not crazy about gray shoes, I'm afraid. I don't quite know why that I, I feel that way. >> I mean, she couldn't have shaved her legs for weeks. >> Lucy, hello. I'm Judy Fisher. Thanks so much for coming along to see me. We're going to just talk a little bit about. [CROSSTALK]. >> Lucy looks fine. So her trace starts slightly above average, but only just, and it doesn't last. >> it was my favorite subject at school. >> Listen to her voice. It's beginning to lack expression. She's licking her lips, signs of tension. >> Long-term. Something [CROSSTALK]. >> At best, the trace is mediocre. At worst, it drops. [CROSSTALK]. >> Interested in alternative health and nutrition, and one day I'd like to make my career out of that. >> In what do you want, in what side of it? >> Well possibly working from, working from home and perhaps in a clinic as well as alternative health therapist and adviser. >> Lucy's lifestyle ambitions don't impress. Her trace sinks from plus 30 to minus 30 in 20 seconds, but the next candidate's trace will sink like a stone. [SOUND]. >> Now this should be very interesting. [SOUND]. >> Shopping bags, an obvious mistake. But how quickly and dramatically will they affect her trace? >> Valeria, hello. >> Hi. >> I'm Judy Fischer. Good to meet you. Thanks for coming in. >> In three seconds, it's plummeted to a feeble minus 50. Neither Lucy nor Bridget ever sank that low. >> Carrying shopping bags, low levels of eye contact, and nothing positive has happened yet. >> And on the creative side you [UNKNOWN]. >> Mm-hm. Yeah, very much. >> You go a lot? >> Very much. >> What was the last thing you saw in the cinema? >> I haven't been for ages, actually. What was the last thing I saw? >> And what about your sort of attention to detail? You're quite thorough? >> Yeah, yeah. >> Because you have got three spelling mistakes in your CV. >> Do I? >> Yes. >> If you convey a bad first impression, you have to work very, very, very hard indeed. There was a little bit of research that showed that it takes eight positive pieces of positive information, before you can overcome a first bad first impression. My view would be that even that's very, very difficult. >> Unlike the other two candidates, Valeria was, in fact, an actress planted by us without Judy's knowledge. I'd actually been told by Terry to fidget, to not look her in the eye, to not smile and to move around in my chair quite a bit, and just be evasive, in general. [MUSIC] Looking at the three graphs together Valeria came a miserable third behind Bridget first and Lucy second, [MUSIC] but look closely at the first five seconds. The three women have already been ranked in order, and the order never alters. >> I didn't find it very easy to get back on a, on a snap judgment that I had made, and possibly I had lost some very fine candidates. >> It sounds very unfair, but the moment somebody walks in the room for an interview, I know or I can guess quite a lot about them, just from the way they're dressed. [SOUND]. >> Bridget, hello. Well done. You did really well in your interview. You were absolutely excellent, and we're delighted to offer you the job. >> Oh. >> So, many congratulations. >> Thanks very much. >> And the very best of luck. >> That was great. Thank you. [MUSIC]. >> Bridget's been in her new job for ten months now and is doing well. I was quite surprised that it showed the results so quickly, the first five seconds. They, some of them were very obvious, Valeria was within the first five seconds, was going to have to fight very hard to get better. But first impressions are very, very important. >> What this video suggests and what research on impression formation has found, is that social impressions are formed with amazing speed, even when people have plenty of time to ask each other questions. In other words, the first few seconds of an interaction between strangers is often the most important time period their relationship will ever have. It may, for example, determine whether they'll work together, whether they'll become friends, date each other, or even get married. Yet, there's a problem if we want to understand what other people think of us during that important first impression. Precisely because we don't have a close relationship with people we haven't met before, they're probably not going to openly share what they think of us, and they're certainly not going to offer us tips on how we can make a better impression, but in this class, we can overcome that obstacle because we're a learning community set up to help each other, and that's exactly what the next assignment is designed to do. The assignment, which I call the Social Challenge, is to create a Social Psychology Network page that leads strangers, in this case classmates, to form a positive impression of you when they first encounter your page. The assignment will be peer-assessed, which means not only that you'll receive a score, but that you'll receive specific suggestions on how to improve the impression you're making. If you post photos of yourself, which ones do people like? If you write a biographical description, what do people think of it? Should you try to be funny, polite, artistic, knowledgeable? The reading for next week, which focuses on the self in the social world, fits perfectly with this assignment. So, once the next set of lectures and reading materials are released to the class, please use the social psychology you're learning when you create a page that presents yourself to the social world. When I release the second week of lectures and reading material, I'll also post an FAQ page with details on the assignment. For example, explaining how the assignment will work if you're not a member of Social Psychology Network. And now that the course is underway, the weekly release of materials will follow a regular timetable so that the discussion forums can include whatever the topics are for that week. So to sum up the second assignment offers a really unique opportunity to learn about social psychology, to learn about the social impressions that you make, and end up, after the course is over, with a web page that other people who also know something about social psychology have helped you to perfect. But now let me just end by congratulating you for completing the last lecture of week number one. I'm assuming, of course, that you're watching the lectures in order, that's important. Also, let me remind you to complete the first reading assignment and the Random Assignment Assignment by the deadline that's given in the web course page. And here is a pop-up question to finish out the lecture. I will see you next week.

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Duration: 10 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
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Views: 324
Posted by: byroncao on Aug 1, 2013

Lecture 1.8: What Other People Think of You of "Social Psychology" course on Coursera.

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