Although cultural wisdom warns us not to judge a book by its cover, we seem unable to inhibit this tendency even though it can lead to inaccurate impressions of people’s psychological traits and has significant social consequences. One explanation for this paradox is that first impressions from faces reflect overgeneralizations of adaptive impressions of categories of people with structurally similar faces (including babies, familiar or unfamiliar people, evolutionarily unfit people, and people expressing a variety of emotions). Research testing these overgeneralization hypotheses has elucidated why we form first impressions from faces, what impressions we form, and what cues influence these impressions. This article focuses on commonalities in impressions across diverse perceivers, with additional brief attention given to individual differences in impressions and impression accuracy.
Current Directions in Psychological Science – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2017
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