This study investigated the different components
and the level of importance a group of male and female participants place on
each component that factor in the formation of a first impression of another
person. Previous studies have highlighted a list of components, both verbal and
nonverbal cues (Back, Schmukle, & Egloff, 2010; Barrick, Shaffer, &
DeGrassi, 2009; Berry, Hansen, Landry-Pester, & Meier, 1994; Zebrowitz,
Franklin Jr., Hillman, and Boc, 2012). The bulk of the research focused on
nonverbal cues including physical appearance and attractiveness, vocal
attractiveness or babyishness, body posture, hygiene, eye contact, facial expressions,
race, and body composure. Out of the cues
discussed in the literature two categories exist: those we do (e.g., dress,
body language to a degree, hygiene) and those we do not have influence over
(e.g., physical beauty, race, voice to a degree). The level of perceived and
actual accuracy in forming first impressions was also addressed in the
literature and by this researcher. Through the use of questionnaires, the
researcher sought to discover how often and to what degree of importance 14
participants (10 female, four male) applied to the components of physical
attractiveness, vocal attractiveness, race, body posture, smell, and
dress. This study found that the three
most often factored in while forming a first impression were dress, smell, then
physical attractiveness. The level of importance revealed the same order.
Several interesting sex differences in relationship to how often, the level of importance
and the level of accuracy confidence were found.

When asked, “How often do you factor in X component in forming a first impression?” on a 5 point Likert scale, the women gave the following ratings:

1. Dress

2. Smell

3. Physical Attractiveness

The Men gave the following ratings:

1. Physical Attractiveness

2. Dress

3. Voice

When asked to rate the level of importance they applied to each component the women gave the following ratings:

1. Smell

2. Dress

3. Physical Attractiveness

The men gave the following ratings:

1. Dress

2. Physical Attractiveness

3. Voice


Pass the Ball

I sought to analyze how these two cultures (i.e., Black and White American cultures) collided on the basketball court. There exists the stereotype in pick-up games that black guys are ball hogs and show-offs, while white guys pass the ball and have better fundamentals.

I also observed a situation in how a young white man, Aaron, changed his communication with me when I responded culturally ‘white’ to his attempts at communicating culturally ‘black’ with me.

I observed these situations at the IPFW gym. What I found was, in this particular instance, the stereotypes held true. A young black man exemplified the ball-hog  ‘look at me’ persona.

The white young man, Aaron, was the one to really vocalize that the young black man, Eon, was doing this.

Another observation:

In regard to the interaction between Aaron and myself another interesting observation was gained. He initially addressed me with a more culturally ‘black’ demeanor and I chose to address him more from my white side. He then adjusted to me and spoke with less ‘blackness’ from that point further. Aligning with the chapter, my behavior affected his engagement with me; he may have had an idea of who I was by looking at me, but he changed his approach when my behavior did not confirm his expectancy.

As for Eon, the stereotype combined with his actual behavior solidified my judgment and possibly others about him. After he left, several comments were made about him being a ‘gun.’ Manusov’s (2008) study affirmed this experience that a judgment is made primarily based on the behavior. The study did not really address this situation where a negative stereotype is confirmed by one’s behavior. Do experiences like these codify stereotypes and make it harder for them to be changed, even by future encounters with those whose behavior disproves them?

Manusov, V.  (2008). Stereotypes and nonverbal cues showing how we feel about others during cross-cultural interactions. In Guerrero, L. & Hecht, M. (Eds.), The nonverbal communication reader (pp. 314-320). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Sitting on Daddy’s Lap

I observed a 12 year old daughter’s interaction with her father.

What I found interesting is the daughter’s dialectical experience of wanting to separate and become more grown up, but still sit desiring to be able to sit on her daddy’s lap like the little ones do. She is caught in a time between times of sorts.

As the text mentions, she is at the age where a daughter typically enacts distancing behaviors in order to begin establishing an identity apart from family (Kam, 2006). Yet in this interaction she initiated a behavior to try and stay a little girl in her daddy’s life.

What happened:

Ally, in the observation under discussion, sought to sit upon her father’s lap in a manner that seemed uncomfortable for both of them. She was not overtly rebuffed, but it was clear through physical adjustment on the father’s part and the short instance of the sitting that it was just not working.

A parent handling this stage of life must be careful in how they handle the awkwardness of this change from the child’s perspective. This father did not make her feel that her attempt was inappropriate, but natural consequences seemed to make the point that it was not working.


I wonder what types of nonverbal behaviors with supplement or replace the behaviors that become inappropriate with age? Does a father stress more hugs, patting behaviors, intentional time together?

Kam, J. (2008). Nonverbal behaviors that contribute to healthy or destructive family functioning. In Guerrero, L. & Hecht, M. (Eds.), The nonverbal communication reader (pp. 511-520). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Overall, this was well done study that offered useful findings for what I am interested in investigating. I found both positive and negative issues as I applied my process of critique.

The researchers investigated the impact that certain vocalic characteristics (i.e., vocal babyishness and vocal attractiveness) had upon first impressions of five year olds by adults. The primary claim drawn from the research literature presented was that adult individuals with babyish faces or voices were subject to impressions that led others to assume, and treat them, as if they had correlating “childlike psychological characteristics” (Berry, Hansen, Landry-Pester, & Meier, 1994, p. 187).

Making the claim that vocal and physical attractiveness strongly impact first impressions which subsequently impacts treatment by others was clearly and effectively accomplished by the researchers. They also provided a sufficient base of literature and highlighted the gap they wanted to fill.

I do believe the procedure applied was well thought out and provided a solid opportunity to acquire useful data. (the way in which they acquired vocal recordings and have them assessed was notably well done)

The Achilles’ heel of so many studies was present: undergraduate students.I question what impact their youth and inexperience would have upon their perceptions. What degree of familiarity did each of them have with little children in their lives? Do they like children, have children, want children?

The findings were clearly elucidated by the researchers. The data that emerged from this study extends the previous research applied to adult impressions to impressions of young children related to the correlation between perceived vocal attractiveness and vocal babyishness on assumed personality characteristics.

Berry, D., Hansen, J., Landry-Pester, J. and Meier, J. (1994). Vocal determinants of first impressions of young children. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 18, 187-197.


What is a metaperception?

“an individual’s perspective on another’s perspective on him or her…” (Langer & Wurf, 2008).

I chose to analyze an interaction I had with two individuals, one male and one female to see if afterwards my beliefs about myself would be reinforced or challenged by our interaction.

I analyzed three characteristics of myself that were reinforced by the interactions.

  • humor
  • kindness
  • intelligence

The concept of others influencing such strong aspects of one’s identity can be tricky. I found all three affirmed by our exchanges, but I found humor the most interesting which led to several questions.

  • Can a person with negligible humor receive feedback that they are funny and actually become funnier?
  • How does this effect relate to other things such as  kindness or intelligence?
  • If I was treated as if I were a cruel, ignorant, stick in the mud would I begin to own those characteristics based upon the metaperceptions created by such treatment?
  • How does age and possessing more set understandings of self impact creation of metaperceptions?

Ultimately, I found that this interaction confirmed what I already believed about myself and how I think people view me. Yet, one can never fully know how another perceives them without receiving their own explanation, but with what we are learning about deception, even then the complete truth may not be found out.

Langer, S. & Wurf, E. (2008). The effects of channel-consistent and channel-inconsistent interpersonal feedback on the formation of metaperceptions. In Guerrero, L. & Hecht, M. (Eds.), The nonverbal communication reader (pp. 511-520). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.