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David Hinde | Orgtopia

Very interesting. Reinforces what I've found many times in business. Sometimes people sign me up for work, and I know that they've no idea on my background, skills etc, they just seem to have decided they like me. Other times - no matter what I say and do, I cannot do business with people, their snap judgement of me is negative, for what ever reason. I wonder if there is any strategies for over turning people's quick assessments. A number of people mention the book Blink, maybe I will get a copy

Kevin Rutkowski

This is quite interesting. I wonder if the results would be similar for people evaluating on-line instructors who don't have any in-person or video interaction. Are there cues that people pick up in a small bit of writing that accurately predict how students would evaluate their instructor?

Mary Rosenbaum

As others have already written, this is exactly the type of research that went into writing Blink by Gladwell. As a former recruiter (25 years) and current career and personal branding strategist I can attest to the "sliver" theory. It took me very little time (less than 5 minutes) to determine whether or not a particular candidate would be suitable for the job. It wasn't just his/her physical appearance or actions but also the first verbal interactions we had. Although I went deeper with each potential candidate, the initial impression usually (not always)was reinforced. That's why it's critical to anyone involved in a job search that the most should be made of the first few minutes of interaction.

Arlyn Tan

I would like to ask if the research applies to the impressions on sales people who does service and product presentations ? I am trying to find data as to how business decision makers, doctors, or specific workers respond to cold calls and sales presentations. Hope that you can help me. please also email me at


Reminds me of Gladwell's Blink. Even without the study, I think we "thin-slice" everyday and we're quite aware of how new people we meet turn out similarly to how we thought they'll turn out. First impressions do last.

But of course, there are certain cases when we change our minds about people.


I fully agree with the comment AD made above i.e.

"Maybe it wasn't the test subjects that observed the instructors for 30 seconds that were accurate, but rather the students who observed them the whole semester who were inaccurate and largely relying on their initial impressions."

It would be very interesting to test this explanation.

michael webster

I vote for Asim Jalis's interpretation as an equally valid view.

What I don't know is how to break the tie.


have you read Blink by gladwell? You may really like that book; it's basically all about this.

I agree with Asim in this particular case: to say whether the thin-slice judgement is accurate, we would need a more object measure than just comparing it to the thick-slice group. (If the question is "Does this person have a high IQ" compare it to the actual IQ scores, not what the thick-slice group thought the IQ was). A little tougher to control for, but it could be done.

Asim Jalis

Bob: This is an interesting study.

However, the results could be explained in another way.

Maybe it wasn't the test subjects that observed the instructors for 30 seconds that were accurate, but rather the students who observed them the whole semester who were inaccurate and largely relying on their initial impressions.

The students who took the semester long classes decided in the first few seconds if the instructors were competent, caring, or qualified. Then the rest of the semester they focused on incidents that confirmed their initial impression, and ignored incidents that contradicted it.

Once people have a theory, they tend to fit the data to confirm it. When you like someone you overlook their negative traits as unrepresentative of their character. When you dislike someone you amplify their negative traits and ignore their positive ones.

Nils Davis

Bob - this is definitely one of the most mind-bending findings in social science. The result for me is that I don't believe any argument for how people behave that's not based on research.

The research tends to show that the way we think we learn, make decisions, act, and think are totally not the way we do those things in reality.

In particular, anyone who says "you can accomplish X because I've accomplished X" (that is, nearly any self-help book) is highly suspect. Obviously, the study you cite invalidates pretty much any book on "How To Get A Job"!

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