Quick to Judge

Science now confirms that you only get one chance to make a first impression and that judgment happens more quickly than you’d expect. Psychologist and neuroscientist Dr. Bastian Schiller and a team of researchers in Switzerland have discovered that subconsciously, we decide within milliseconds who or what we like or don’t like.

The researchers used Implicit Association Tests, which measure the strength of a person’s automatic association with concepts, objects or social constructs. They analyzed brain activity in soccer fans who were processing positive and negative information about members of their favorite or opposing teams. In some cases, the steps to judgment happened in a few milliseconds.

Although our brains are wired to make snap judgements based on stored knowledge, it’s critical to remember that we also have the capacity to step back and gather more information before determining who is a friend or an enemy.


Test Your Assumptions

A recent study by researchers in Switzerland shows that we make decisions about who or what we like or don’t like in milliseconds.  Dr. Bastian Schiller and his team used Implicit Association Tests or IATs to measure how quickly our brain processes social information about likability or antipathy.

The implications from this study are vast. When we meet new people or face new situations, making snap judgments can be detrimental to how we treat and think about the capabilities of others. It’s important to slow down our reaction in order to make more informed decisions.


To better understand your hidden reactions to people of different types, I recommend taking one of Harvard’s online IATs to shed light on underlying assumptions that influence your responses to different types of people.  Your can test your reaction to anything from ethnicity and skin tone to gender or weight and more.


Click here for a link to Harvard’s Implicit Association Tests.


Do Muscles Equal Strong Leaders?

According to a joint study by professors at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Oklahoma State University, men of muscular stature rank higher in perceived leadership quality. They conducted a multiple-faceted experiment that resulted in more formidable subjects being seen a good and effective leader by both men and women.

But when study participants believed the buff men were likely to behave more aggressively, they lost out to their less muscular counterparts. Strong physical appearance may get one in the door, but people appear to have overriding preconceived notions about the importance of interpersonal skills for male leaders.

When the researchers measured the perception of women’s leadership ability, there was little affect when participants were shown images of strong vs. weak women.


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