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/