- They also make inferences on how successful you are based on what you're wearing, and how aggressive you are based on the shape of your face.
- Here are 11 things people decide within seconds of meeting you.
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Psychologists call it "thin slicing."
Within moments of meeting you, peopledecide all sorts of things about you, from status to intelligence to conscientiousness.
Career experts say it takes just three seconds for someone to determine whether they like you and want to do business with you.
Fortunately, you have some control over the way otherssee you. For example, wearing tailored clothes and looking your conversation partner in the eye will generallycreatea more positive impression. But as for how aggressive you seem? That's largely determined by your facial structure.
Here, we've rounded up 11 assumptions people make about you sometimes accurate and sometimes less so based on first impressions. Read on to find out what signals you might be giving off.
Drake Baer and Yu Han contributed reporting on a previous version of this article.
People judge how much they should trust another person after only just meeting them.
People maydecide on your trustworthiness in as little as a tenth of a second .
Princeton researchers found this out by giving one group of 245 university students 100 milliseconds to rate the attractiveness, competence, likability, aggressiveness, and trustworthiness of actors' faces.
One hundred and twenty-eight membersof another group were able to take as long as they wanted. Results showed that ratings of trustworthiness were highly similar between the two groups even more similar than ratings of attractiveness suggesting thatwe figure out almost instantaneously if we can trust someone.
People also judge your socioeconomic status just by looking at you.
A small Dutch study found that people wearing name-brand clothes Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger, to be precise were seen as higher status and wealthier than folks wearing nondesigner clothes when they approached 80 shoppers in a mall.
"Perceptions did not differ on any of the other dimensions that might affect the outcome of social interactions," the authors wrote. "There were no differences in perceived attractiveness, kindness, and trustworthiness."
Just status and wealth.
People determine how smart they think you are after just meeting you.
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
A 2007 study led by Nora A. Murphy, a professor atLoyola Marymount University,found that looking your conversation partner in the eye might help encourage people to see you as more intelligent.
For the study, 182 college students were asked to discuss an assigned topic in pairs for five minutes. Partners then rated each other on how smart they seemed. Results showed that people were perceived as more intelligent when they held their partner's gaze while talking.
"Looking while speaking was a key behavior," she wrote .
Your appearance can also signal how dominant people think you are.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Bald isn't just beautiful, it's powerful.
In a small University of Pennsylvania experiment , undergrads looked at 25 photos of men, some with shaved heads and others with full heads of hair. The students rated men with shaved heads as more dominant.
Twolargerfollow-up experiments with 344 and 552 adults, respectively, had similar results. Participants tended to rate bald men those who'd had their hair either digitally removedor those with shaved heads asmore dominant.
Importantly,researchers found that it wasspecificallyshaved heads that people seemed to associate with dominance not just the lack of hair.So if it's starting to go, you might want to shave it.
If you want to look successful, get your clothestailored.
ABritish-Turkish study of274 people had them lookat faceless photos of men in tailored vs. off-the-peg suits for five seconds. They tended to rate theguys in tailored suits as more successful.
"On the evidence of this study it appears men may be advised to purchase clothing that is welltailored, as it can positively enhance the image they communicate to others," the authors wrote .
People aren't just judging your status they're making assumptions about your earning potential, too.
In a small 2011 study of college students who were shown photos of a male model dressed in either business or casual attire and then asked questions about how he'd perform in a variety of jobs, the participants tended to predict that the crisply dressed men would make more money and get promoted sooner.
People are looking to see whether you're adventurous during the first meeting.
Reuters / Anton Ferreira
People don't just read into who you are from your appearance: they're also looking at the way you move.
In asmallstudy , a group ofstudents were shown video clips of other students walking some with looser gaits, some with tighter ones.
Just a few steps were needed to give the viewers a sense of the other person's personality. They tended toequate looser gaits with extroversion and adventurousness, while seeing the more clipped walkers as moreneurotic.Interestingly, the participants were generally wrong in their assumptions.
People can tell if you have an aggressive personality just by your face shape.
Photographer is my life./Getty Images
Sometimes, first impressions can be totally wrong other times they can be right on point.
A small Canadian experiment of undergraduate women found that they were able to accurately assess how aggressive 37 different men were after looking at a photograph of their faces for 39 milliseconds. The researchers measured aggression by having the men pictured play a computer game in which they had the option to steal points from another player.
Researchers also found a connection between men with larger facial width-to-height ratios (regardless of their expressions) and perceived aggression levels, and reasoned that it could bebecause angry expressions involve lowering the brow and raising the upper lip, which increases this ratio.
People may be able to tell how religious you are simply by looking at how you hold yourself.
One study , led by Laura P. Neiman at the University of California at Berkeley, found that 123 undergradscould accurately assess 113 people'sreligiosity simply by looking at full-body photographs of thoseindividuals. In this case, religiositywas measured by asking the individualspictured as well as three people who knew them wellto complete a questionnaire.
Those who appeared to be smiling, energetic, relaxed, and neat were judged to be more religious and in fact, they usually were.
In just 50 milliseconds, most people can accurately predictif you consider yourselfan extrovert.
That's according to a small study led by German researchers in which people looked at photographs of hundreds of faces and rated the people pictured on different personality traits. The researchers say extroverts generally display more cheerful expressions in photographs, so they're easy to spot.
They write: "Many people attempt to express positive emotions by smiling, particularly when being photographed, but introverts seem to do so less frequently, less skillfully, and in more reserved ways than extroverts."
People make assumptions on your leadership ability just by looking at you.
Researchersasked undergrads to review headshotsof close to 100managing partners at top law firms andrate them on different personality traits, including dominance, facial maturity, likability, and trustworthiness.
The researchers combined the partners' scores on dominance and facial maturityto create a single "power" score, and combined their scores on likability and trustworthiness to create a single "warmth" score. People who scored higher on power tended to lead firms that were more profitable.
Even weirder? The same findings held true when participants looked atcollegeyearbook photos of 73 of the managing partners, some of which were taken half a century earlier.
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