Dana Carney

A thin slice perspective on the accuracy of first impressions

Coauthor(s): C. R. Colvin, Judith A. Hall.


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The accuracy of first impressions was examined by investigating judged construct (negative affect, positive affect, the Big five personality variables, intelligence), exposure time (5, 20, 45, 60, and 300 s), and slice location (beginning, middle, end). Three hundred and thirty four judges rated 30 targets. Accuracy was defined as the correlation between a judge's ratings and the target's criterion scores on the same construct. Negative affect, extraversion, conscientiousness, and intelligence were judged moderately well after 5-s exposures; however, positive affect, neuroticism, openness, and agreeableness required more exposure time to achieve similar levels of accuracy. Overall, accuracy increased with exposure time, judgments based on later segments of the 5-min interactions were more accurate, and 60 s yielded the optimal ratio between accuracy and slice length. Results suggest that accuracy of first impressions depends on the type of judgment made, amount of exposure, and temporal location of the slice of judged social behavior.

Source: Journal of Research in Personality
Exact Citation:
Carney, Dana, C. R. Colvin, and Judith A. Hall. "A thin slice perspective on the accuracy of first impressions." Journal of Research in Personality 41 (2007): 1054-1072.
Volume: 41
Pages: 1054-1072
Date: 2007