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Split-Second Helpings of Intuition Serve Lasting Impressions

Gut feel or intuition is fleeting that we could use it in just one tenth of a second to gauge a stranger, according to research in this area. Researchers say that impressions// are formed even in the absence of speech and movement, because all it needs is just a split second to size up a person’s character and decide whether he is worthy of companionship and trust.

With the help of timed experiments, participants were asked to form an opinion of persons they had not met, by just looking at pictures. The findings revealed that irrespective of the duration of time allowed to study a face, 100 milliseconds, or 500 milliseconds, the inferences made about the face shown did not alter.

Alexander Todorov, a psychologist at Princeton University in the US, said, “The link between facial features and character may be tenuous at best, but that doesn’t stop our minds from sizing other people up at a glance. We decide very quickly whether a person possesses many of the traits we feel are important, such as likeability and competence, even though we have not exchanged a single word with them. It appears that we are hard-wired to draw these inferences in a fast, unreflective way”

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