We all get gut instincts when we walk into a room of strangers. Do we fit in here? Do these people seem friendly? Snap judgments are simply a part of how we function. But Princeton University psychology professor Alexander Todorov says that while these first impressions are natural, we should try to resist them.

In his book Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions Todorov discusses the dangers that can come from our innately human propensity to make assumptions. Physiognomy, the study of assigning personality traits to a person based on their face, has a long history dating back to Aristotle and was extremely popular in the 19th century. Today, it’s again becoming relied upon and Todorov is worried. Two computer scientists in China state that their software can determine with 90% accuracy whether or not a person is a criminal, solely based on a person’s image.

Two computer scientists in China state that their software can determine with 90% accuracy whether or not a person is a criminal, solely based off of a person’s image.

Todorov is not so sure. Face to face interviews are a particular place of weakness. A first impression is a very poor indicator of whether someone can perform tasks properly. Learn more by reading Todorov’s Face Value

Guest:

  • Alexander Todorov, professor of psychology at Princeton University and author, Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions

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