Ways in Which Stereotyping Influences the Formation of First Impressions.

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Ways in Which Stereotyping Influences the Formation of First Impressions.

Impression formation can be defined as the process by which people form impression or opinion of another person. People tend to form first impression very quickly, they are difficult to change and are long-lasting. First impression affect the way an individual relate to the person after they have formed an opinion or impression of personal disclosure. This is judged by how an individual reveals their personal disclosure. For example, a person who reveals too much too soon may receive a negative impression, while a more favorable impression is created if an individual is willing to disclose their personal information. It takes 1/10th of a second for an individual to form a durable first impression and it involves compound cognitive processes. When shaping first impression by stereotypes, an individual infers things about the person grounded on key distinguishing features invoking the stereotype. After activating a stereotype, an individual may tend to ignore facts which are inconsistent with the stereotype irrespective of its apparent nature. 

Comparing and Contrasting Stereotyping Aspects

When forming impression, mental shortcuts like schemas assist people to avoid being burdened with other people’s information. A person schema is composed of information bits about an individual that can be organized to form a general picture. This kind of schemas oversimplifies reality leading to erroneous impressions. Similarly another error that occurs in impression formation is primary effect that leads individuals to consider early information to be more important than late information. However, over reliance on first impression may lead to self-fulfilling prophesies. Therefore, negative and positive initial impressions leads to expectations towards a person leading the perceiver to act in a specific way towards the person.

People form first impression differently from visual perception and self-perception or personality. What we see creates the impression of a person varying from what an individual wears, talks and how they carries themselves. Personality of an individual may create an impression to the perceiver. However, self-perception or personality is less influenced by stereotypes which are in contrast with visual perception. In a person’s mind there are images of different people in regard with their culture, race, ethnicity, sex or gender which have already been formed. With the images in mind, when a person meets another person, they classify them according to the stereotypes already in their mind.


Elbana,. (2011). sociol Coginition. Chapter 14 : Social Psychology. Retrieved from http://web.eccrsd.us/walkerm/public/Walker/AP_Psychology_files/LP14.htm

Higgins,. (2007). Perception. Retrieved from http://www.web-books.com/eLibrary/NC/B0/B58/011MB58.html

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