Thin-slicing is a term used in psychology and philosophy to describe the ability to find patterns in events based only on “thin slices,” or narrow windows, of experience. ~ Wikipedia, “Thin-Slicing”
Believe it or not, people decide a number of things about you within seconds. These impressions include your intellect, sexual orientation, and faithfulness – or lack thereof.
Of course, perception is not always reality. And most people are notoriously bad at, well, “reading people.”
Here are five things that people “decide” about you within a minute
1. Your sexual orientation
In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, authors Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady write:
“The rapid and accurate perception of male sexual orientation may be just another symptom of a fast and efficient cognitive mechanism for perceiving the characteristics of others.”
In the study, 22 male and 68 female college undergraduates were presented with photos of 90 male’s faces – of which half were homosexual. The length at which these faces appeared were 33 milliseconds (ms), 50 ms, 6500 ms, or 10,000 ms.
The participants were able to determine sexual orientation within 50 milliseconds of photo exposure accurately.
2. Your status
In one Dutch study, people who wore designer clothes were determined to be of a higher status than those who did not.
The authors write “Perceptions did not differ on any of the other dimensions that might affect the outcome of social interactions. There were no differences in perceived attractiveness, kindness, and trustworthiness.”
Sadly, many of our fellow humans would rather associate with someone of a ‘high status’ than someone who is authentic, friendly, and nurturing – and all based off of a frequently flawed perception.
As it turns out, clothing is a pretty bad indicator of “status.” There have been plenty of people with means who don’t give a crap about clothing (see: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates.)
3. Your intelligence
Um, wearing glasses doesn’t make someone smart. We all know that, right? Apparently not.
In a study conducted by professors from Loyola Marymount University, wearing thick glasses was a factor in determining whether or not someone was smart.
There were other things, too.
“Looking while speaking was a key behavior. It significantly correlated with IQ … and contributed to higher perceived intelligence ratings.”
So, the next time you’re talking to someone, look them in the eye. Apparently, doing so makes you look smarter than the average bear. Oh, and speak expressively – use your hands and what not.
4. Sexual promiscuity
In a study published in the journal Body Image, “Results showed that tattooed women were rated less physically attractive, more sexually promiscuous and heavier drinkers than untattooed women, with more negative ratings with increasing number of tattoos.”
The authors write that female tattoos portray a more masculine nature, which includes a penchant for fast cars, booze, sports, and, uh, sleeping around.
Good call, guys. And by good call, we mean a terrible one.
5. If you’re ‘Alpha’
In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, “men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant than similar men with full heads of hair.”
Back to the study!
The researchers also concluded:
– “men whose hair was digitally removed were perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their authentic selves.”
– “men experiencing natural hair loss may improve their interpersonal standing by shaving.”
Oh, and add Jason Statham, Tom Hardy, and Samuel L. Jackson to that list too.