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Parameters That Shape How We Perceive Other People’s Personalities
As human beings, we are always entitled to daily prejudice and judgment – which can either go positively or negatively. For instance, from the moment a person sits down in church and faces the next person sitting next to him or her, chances are, the person will cast some judgment upon the seatmate. It is very much like profiling the seatmate based on what the person knows, what his or her experiences are, his or her background, and more. Some of the parameters when perceiving another person’s personalities are social norms, physical characteristics, salience, social categorization, and the implicit personality theory.
An article written by Kendra Cherry on verywell.com discussed the ways people form impressions of others. Such factors that can influence the views and opinions that someone can form of others can be anywhere from the characteristics and attributes of the person that the observer is looking at, to the context of the scenario, the personal attributes of the observer, and past experiences (Cherry).
According to the website, such parameters include social norms, physical characteristics, salience, social categorization, and the implicit personality theory (Cherry). The website noted that the implicit personality theory pertains to the idea that the observer will follow patterns about how he or she perceives the other person. When the other person for instance appears happy to him or her, the observer can have a narrow judgment that the person is also friendly, accommodating, and warm.
In another article from FastCompany.com, author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic summarized how the brain judges other people’s traits and personalities. For one, sizing up is one of the biggest factors on how a person does it. People always leave traces of their own personality on each judgment, and it is never a one-way process. The same way that the observer puts prejudice on the other person has the same equal process that the latter will have on the former (Chamorro-Premuzic).
Another important note that the same article by Chamorro-Premuzic mentioned is the way that the space plays a major role in the perception. For instance, hanging out and conversing with the person in a restaurant can produce certain perceptions that are different when one hangs out with the same person inside a hotel room.
Studying people’s perceptions about others can be a very interesting subject to discuss. There are various medical professionals, experts, and psychologists around who can always put substance and interest upon these kinds of subjects.
Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. “This Is How Your Brain Judges Others’ Personalities.” Fast
Company & Inc. 31 August 2015. Accessed 28 July 2017.
Cherry, Kendra. “What Is Person Perception?” Verywell. 19 March 2016. Accessed 28 July
Are the Attractive People Treated Differently?
“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them” (Hume, 1757). This statement suggests that what we consider to be beautiful depends on our perception. Moreover, we tend to make assumptions about other people based on whether we consider them to be beautiful or attractive, or not. For example, a person may strive to be fashionable, cover his or her body with tattoos to create a rebellious image, dress up in strict suits to look like an academician or businessman, and so on. These are the unspoken messages projected outwards for other people, or internalized to establish self-identity, or possibly both.
When perceived as attractive, an individual is considered to possess decent psychological and personality traits. People with more attractive faces are judged more positively. They are perceived as more outgoing, socially competent, influential, sexually appealing, intelligent, trustworthy, and healthy (Eagly, Ashmore, Makhijani, & Longo, 1991; Feingold, 1992). Psychologists call this phenomenon the halo effect. Theoretically, individuals who are perceived as attractive benefit from multiple social advantages, making them indeed more successful.
Physical attractiveness plays a significant role in the modern society; in particular, it affects the impressions we get from communicating to a person, our preferences when hiring an employee, dating other individuals, the way we behave with attractive and non-attractive people. Besides, modern popular culture greatly contributes to the matter of displaying and promoting the perfect images of attractiveness, and thus many people put a significant amount of effort in improving their appearance, hoping it will change how others perceive them.
Having attractive appearance involves the role it plays in the job market. Attractive individuals of both sexes have been found to be more likely to get a job than those who are seen as less attractive. Candidates with more beautiful faces are more likely to be successful in job interviews. Attractive individuals are considered to be more qualified for a job, receiving higher offers for starting salary and better advancement opportunities. Overall, attractiveness is the determining factor affecting hiring processes, and is thus a real advantage to those people perceived as attractive (Dipboye, Fromkin, & Wiback, 1975).
Although, we are all warned to not judge a book by its cover, we keep repeating this mistake over and over again, making our impression of people based on their appearance. Appearance affects our decision making process even in those cases when judgments should be made based rather on common sense and rational arguments than appearance. For example, the way a person looks affects the severity of legal punishment for a committed crime (Eberhardt, Davies, Purdie-Vaughns, & Johnson, 2006), or even parliamentary elections. Catherine A. Sanderson in her book “Social Psychology” claims that “The legal system may even take beauty into account — a variety of studies have found effects suggesting that attractiveness helps when it comes to verdicts and sentencing. It may be that attractive people are less likely to commit crimes as serious as unattractive people, or that there is a societal view that pretty people are “good” and wouldn’t do bad thing.” Looks like beauty has become the real factor of impact even in justice.
Regardless of the reason, the statement that attractiveness correlates with success appears to be true. Benefits of being good looking are obvious. Although we may try not to judge people by their appearance, this tendency is obvious and does not seem to be ending in the near future.
Dipboye, R. L., Fromkin, H. L., & Wiback, K. (1975). Relative Importance of Applicant Sex,
Attractiveness, and Scholastic Standing in Evaluation of Job Applicant Resumes. Journal Of
Applied Psychology, 60(1), 39-43. doi:10.1037/h0076352
Eagly AH, Ashmore RD, Makhijani MG, Longo LC. What Is Beautiful Is Good, but: A Meta-analytic Review of Research on the Physical Attractiveness Stereotype. Psychological Bulletin. 1991;110(1):109–128.
Eberhardt JL, Davies PG, Purdie-Vaughns VJ, Johnson SL. Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes. Psychological Science. 2006;17(5):383–386.
Sanderson Catherine A., Saba HYPERLINK “http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-302479.html?query=Saba+Safdar”Safdar, Social Psychology. January 2010. Canadian edition. Psychological Science.
Hume, D, & J. Lenz. (1975). Of the Standard of Taste: And Other Essays. Indianapolis, Indiana:
The Bobbs-Miller Company, Inc.
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