Excuse Me, But I Think You Have the Wrong Impression

When my daughter was a toddler she was sorting through her Little People toys and giving each “person” an appropriate place in the Little People Village.  When she got to a Little person who she felt did not have the right color hair or had on the wrong clothes, she would catapult the toy across the room in disgust.  She was letting her initial impressions control her actions.  Eventually, the rejected toys were welcomed back into the village, but they never became her favorites.  I was quick to correct her and explain that it is not nice to judge people (even if they are toys) by appearances.  However, I also knew that she was not exposed to any influences that would lead to her inclination to judge, so it was somehow a natural trait.

 

Despite our efforts to not judge people based on appearance, it is our brain’s natural tendency.  Our brains are actually programmed to make judgments within the first 1/10 of a second after meeting someone, so you can blame your left lateral orbitofrontal cortex the next time you silently scold yourself for judging someone based on appearance.  Brain scans have revealed that the left lateral orbitofrontal cortex of study participants showed significantly greater activity when interacting with an “unattractive” person.

 

The good news is we are not bound by our initial impressions.  When we continue to interact with a person, we learn new information about them that can change our initial impressions…to an extent.  Other areas of the brain are activated when our impressions begin to change, but the initial impact to our left lateral orbitofrontal cortex is still a factor in our overall impression.  Thus, while we can deviate from our initial impressions based on new information, our attitudes usually remain influenced by those initial impressions.    So the next time your child throws a toy across the room (what, you mean that was only my kid?), remember they are still learning how to control their brains.

 

 

The Daily Post Prompt “Impression”  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/impression/

References:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/278040725_Viewers_extract_the_mean_from_images_of_the_same_person_A_route_to_face_learning?enrichId=rgreq-1143ea012e01660e3c85f3f07890e39b-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzI3ODA0MDcyNTtBUzoyNDIwMDIwMDAzNDcxMzZAMTQzNDcwOTE4MTg2MQ%3D%3D&el=1_x_2&_esc=publicationCoverPdf

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/22/9337.full

21 thoughts on “Excuse Me, But I Think You Have the Wrong Impression

Add yours

  1. This was an interesting read, as a mother to a young child myself (17 months) I’ve never thought or read about the natural instincts in terms of judgments. I merely thought it was a learned trait that we gain from seeing others judge and be judged. I’m glad I came across this, thank you! x

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have to admit to being slightly disturbed by this post. You seem to be implying that some form of racism is hardwired into us?
    I hope you mean that people naturally distrust strangers rather than people with a different skin colour (for example). 🙂
    Kindness – Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you brought this up. The impressions I am referring to do not account for race. The references I read make no reference to race and my kids didn’t choose their favorites based on race. Rather, it’s whether the observer finds what it is looking at attractive. But really the point is, we can change our impressions:)
      Thanks for reading my post!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed this post so much. When left to their own devices, it’s indeed interesting the choices children make on every level. Hatred, prejudice and racism are taught, learned, not habitual. Likes and dislikes regarding size and formulating patterns in the world around us, I believe are. Thank you for posting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, it is interesting that the initial impressions are not be affected by race but are based on other traits and characteristics. We can learn so much from observing children 🙂

      Like

      1. It’s true, they are so completely devoid of agenda hehe, they like what they like, dislike what they dislike. Children are “eye openers” to the world…it’s fun to see the world through those innocent eyes 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My first impression of you is that you are an excellent writer. First impressions have a way of setting the tone for the way the rest of your feelings will follow, but this is not always the case. While I was working as a substitute teacher at this school that was new to me, the first thing that I noticed when I stepped out of my car in the parking lot was this big rat that crossed my path and I wondered what I was getting into working at this school. It actually turned out to be one of my favorite schools that I enjoyed being at, because all of the students were very respectful to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! That’s a great story about the school. I’m glad your first impression didn’t detract from your time at the school. It ‘s a good thing our first impressions can be changed! Thanks for reading:)

      Liked by 1 person

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