First Impressions

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-05-23
  • Publisher: The Guilford Press

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


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.

Author Biography

Nalini Ambady, PhD, is Professor and Neubauer Faculty Fellow at Tufts University. Previously, she taught at Holy Cross College and Harvard University, where she was the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences. Her research interests focus 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 examines these phenomena from multiple perspectives, ranging from the biological to the sociocultural. Dr. Ambady is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (1999), the American Association for the Advancement of Science Behavioral Science Research Award (1993), and the American Psychological Association Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics) Dissertation Award (1994).


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.

Table of Contents

Biological Aspects
Evolutionary Bases of First Impressions
First Impressions: Peeking at the Neural Underpinnings
The Biology of Mind Reading
Who Draws Accurate First Impressions?: Personal Correlates of Sensitivity to Nonverbal Cues
To What Extent, and under What Conditions, Are First Impressions Valid?
Zero Acquaintance: Definitions, Statistical Model, Findings, and Process
You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression: Behavioral Consequences of First Impressions
Facial Cues
First Impressions from Facial Appearance Cues
Social Categorization and Beyond: How Facial Features Impact Social Judgment
The Role of Facial Expression in Person Perception
Putting Facial Expressions Back in Context
Behavioral and Environmental Cues
Remnants of the Recent Past: Influences of Priming on First Impressions
Spontaneous Impressions Derived from Observations of Behavior: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been (and It's Not Over Yet)
First Impressions Based on the Environments We Create and Inhabit
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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