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In psychology, a first impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person. It can sometimes form an accurate representation of the person, depending on the observer and the person being observed.
'The phrase "first impressions" comes directly from the terminology of sentimental literature...where "first impressions" exhibit the strength and truth of the heart's immediate and intuitive response'. Pride and Prejudice has been seen as a 'glancing blow aimed at the conventions of the sentimental novel' - at the "prejudices" inherent in the casual adoption of first impressions.
As 'a novel in which the adage "first impressions are lasting impressions" proves a test rather than a truth', it charts the movement 'from first impressions and prejudice, to reflections and revisions'.
'First impressions are lasting impressions', and although sometimes misleading, 'research shows that in many situations, our impressions of other people can be quite accurate'. Only in more serious situations is 'going beyond first impressions to seek greater accuracy in person perception sometimes important'.
It takes just one-tenth of a second for us to judge someone and make our first impression, with confidence in impression formation increasing with increasing time taken to form the impression.
Brain circuitry allows a bypassing of the neo-cortex by way of the so-called amygdala hijack: 'this smaller and shorter pathway allows the amygdala to receive some direct inputs from the senses and start a response before they are fully registered by the neo-cortex'.
Research has shown that 'in the first few milliseconds of our perceiving something we not only unconsciously comprehend what it is, but decide whether we like it or not: the "cognitive unconscious"'.
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