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Impression Formation and Management

Bala, Eo, Mendez, Ocampo

Solomon Asch
We look at a person and immediately a certain impression of his
character forms itself in us a glance, a few spoken words are
sufficient to tell us a story about a highly complex matter.....

What is Impression?
An idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, esp. one formed without
conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence. An effect produced on someone.

Impression formation

Solomon Asch greatly influenced the area of study on impression formation in the
1940s. The area of person perception is closely related to impression formation.

Impression formation (sometimes referred to as person perception), refers to the

processes we go through in forming an impression of another person. Here we
would make a variety of perception processes, each of which has pitfalls and
potential dangers. Here are the 7 processes:

7 processes on how we perceive other people:

Self-fulfilling prophecy
Any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or
people that may affect a person's behavior toward them in a manner that
causes those expectations to be fulfilled.

Implicit personality theory

We might have a subconscious that tells us that certain qualities go with
certain other qualities. Qualities being perceive as positive, results to
Halo effect, while negative results to the Horns effect.
Perceptual accentuation
We may see what we expect or want to see and disregard things we
In some instances we may be overly influenced by what comes first
(called a primary effect) or what comes last (called a recency effect).
Often we maintain stereotypes of different ethnic groups, nationalities or
affectional orientations. And, in many instances, we may see people
through these stereotypes, these generalized pictures that we hold for a
group and then apply them to a specific individual.
We expect certain things to go together and other things do not. We all
have a tendency to maintain balance among our perceptions or attitudes;
we want consistency.
We also try to analyze the reasons or motivations for someones actions
(or our own actions, for that matter). Self-serving bias, Overattribution and
Fundamental attribution error are the 3 types of it.

What information do we use in forming an impression?

People tend to think of others within a role context first and only then
according to personality traits
Physical Cues
Appearance and behavior are key determinants of our first impressions.

People pay attention to the figure rather than to the ground or setting.
Effects of Salience

Draws attention

Influences perceptions of causality

Produces evaluative extreme judgments

Produce more consistency of judgment

From behavior to traits

We move very quickly from observable information (appearance &
behavior) to personality trait inferences. Traits are more economical to
remember. Trait inferences occur automatically.
Central traits
Some traits may be more central than others, that is, highly associated
with many other characteristics. Warm-Cold appears to be such a trait
(Kelley, 1950)
We automatically perceive stimuli as part of a group or category.
Consequences of Categorization

leads to category-based social judgments (stereotyping)

speeds processing time

can lead to errors

Impressions range from stereotypic, category-based impressions to

individuated impressions (dual processing).
Dual Processing
We generally tend to use category-based inference because it is easy and
quick. We use individuated information when we are motivated to be
accurate to the person who doesnt fit our categories and we have other
reasons for wanting to know that person better.

Context effects

Contrast biases judgments away from the context (sees them as

Assimilation biases judgments in the same direction as the context
(sees them as similar).
Assimilation occurs more when people are using category-based
Contrast occurs more when people are using individuated

Integrating Impressions

Evaluation, negativity effect, positivity bias, emotional information, the

averaging principle, imputing meaning, imputing consistency,
schemas, prototypes and exemplars

Impression Management
The process of portraying yourself to others in a manner that creates a desired
Goffman argues that the self is simply nothing more than Self-Presentations
and Role Performances.
Social life as a theatre, with social scripts, performances and actors & roles that
was being play in real-time.
Impression management (some writers use the term self-presentation or
identity management) refers to the processes we go through to communicate
the impression we want other people to think of us.

7 management goals

To be liked, to be believed, to excuse failure, to secure help, to hide

faults, to be followed, to confirm self-image.

Types of Impression Management

Constructive - helps in the formation of self-identity.
Strategic - helps in the attainment of some interpersonal goal.

IM Techniques
Opinion conformity: Agreeing with someone elses opinion in order to
gain his or her approval.
Example: A manager tells his boss, you are absolutely right on your
reorganizations plan for the western regional office.
Excuses: Explanations of a predicament (difficult or embarrassing
situation) creating event aimed at minimizing the apparent severity to the
Example: Sales manager to boss. We failed to get the ad in the
paper on time, but no one responds to those ads anyway.
Apologies: Admitting responsibility for an undesirable event and
simultaneously seeking to get a pardon for the section.
Example: Employee to boss, Im sorry I made a mistake on the
report Please forgive me.
Self-Promotion: Highlighting ones best qualities downplaying ones
deficits (the amount or score by which a team or individual is losing) and
calling attention to ones achievements.
Example: A salesperson tells his boss: Matt worked unsuccessfully
for three years to try to get that account I sewed it up in six weeks. Im the
best closer this company has.
Flattery: Complementing others about their behavior or achievement in an
effort to make one self-appear perceptive and likeable.
Example: New sales trainee to peer. You handled that clients
complaint so tactfully! I could never have handled that as well as you did.
Favors: Doing nice for someone to gain that persons approval.

Example: Sales person to prospective client, Ive got two tickets to

the theater tonight that I cant use. Take them. Consider it a thank you for
taking the time to talk with me.
Association: Enhancing or protecting ones image by managing
information about people and things with which one is associated.
Example: A job applicant says to an interviewer, What a
coincidence. Your boss and I were roommates in college.
Acclaiming: Give enthusiastic approval to subordinators and peers.
Example: A person comments about a project of his friend, I give
you 10 / 10 for that dude. You are really one heck of an engineer!

Intimidation: This strategy adapted by a person to get his/her work done
by arousing fear in them. Here his motto is to get his work done, take
control and get results.
Self- promotion: In this case, a person is promoting his strengths to
prove his competency. This can prove to be a positive point in case of an
interview but if your claims do not match your abilities, self-promotion can
prove to be disastrous.
Ingratiation: An art of gaining acceptance or effort to make people like us.
Usually involves:

an ulterior motive (there are benefits for us)

in situations where the other person has discretionary power

Often achieved by:

Opinion conformity
Other enhancement (flattery)
Self enhancement through selective self-presentation (wearing
attractive clothes, talking cautiously, etc.)
Exemplification: This can be a way of portraying one's moral worthiness.
Here, a person tries to prove his sincerity, dedication and responsibility
towards his work, in a way that he tries to portray himself as the superior
Supplication: Supplication is an act wherein a person tries to gain
sympathy and attention by talking about his pains and faults.

How to Improve Impression Management

Set goals.

Commit to the change you want to create.

Dress appropriately.

Learn to shake hands.

Keep your body language open.

Keep smiling and feel confident.














ABCD: Impression Management and Impression Formation