First Impressions and Memory


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First impressions can have a lot of influence over what individuals become major parts of our lives. Human beings have so many distinct and unique features, so it is extremely difficult to remember all of them about even just one person. A lot of statements said during Dr. Hampton’s surprise visit really got me thinking about how much of a role memory plays into first impressions.

After looking for articles that supported my original thoughts, I found this really interesting article that introduces a suggestion that first impressions can be reversed. Previous studies have indicated that implicit first impressions are difficult to update or overturn. More recent studies show that these impressions can be reversed within a short time window from the original impression. One study examines implicit first impressions being reversed through reinterpretation of earlier learning (Mann & Ferguson, 2017). This reversal was only demonstrated in the same experimental session in which the impression formed. The finding suggests that reversing implicit first impressions might be possible only within a brief temporal window and when memory about the original impression is strongest (Mann & Ferguson, 2017). This particular study tested whether implicit first impressions could be reversed through reinterpretation after a delay of two days following the presentation of original information. The results indicated that implicit reversals emerged after the two-day delay. Even those who had poor explicit recall or who were not cued to recall were able to do the reversal.

One relatable topic between the lecture and the article is state-dependent learning. State-dependent learning is referred to as a phenomenon relating to information storage and retrieval restricted to discrete states (Radulovic, Jovasevic, & Meyer, 2017). In more simple terms, state-dependent learning is learning best when conditions are the same at both encoding and recall. In the Mann and Ferguson article, the impressions were able to be reversed when the conditions were the same. I think it would be interesting to see if the results uphold if the original encoding and the recall are not in the same experimental set-up. Personally, I believe the ability to reverse impressions would be less effective if the encoding and recall took place in different locations.

I found this article to be particularly interesting because I was only familiar with how first impressions are formed. First impressions often occur within in just seconds of meeting a new person. Since this process already occurs so rapidly, it is interesting to think about if first impressions can be successfully reversed or not. I think this article demonstrates that memory is a fascinating topic with many aspects that still need to be explored with future research.

Based on this article and information learned in class, do you think it is likely that first impressions can be reversed if encoding and recall occur in different environments?



Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2017). Reversing implicit first impressions through      reinterpretation after a two-day delay. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 68, 122-127.

Radulovic, J., Jovasevic, V., & Meyer, A. A. (2017). Neurobiological mechanisms of state-dependent learning. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 45, 92-98.

3 thoughts on “First Impressions and Memory

  1. scolon

    This post is really thought provoking and relevant since majority of us just met Dr. Hampton! I agree with both you and the article you found saying that first impressions can be reversed in a short time window from the original impression, because it makes a lot of sense. When I went into class the other day I was confused to who Dr. Hampton was since we have all never seen him before, but right as class had started I realized and quickly thought he was great! You are definitely right about this article about reversing first time impressions being interesting, good job.

  2. sdavis4

    Yes! seeing Dr. Hampton in class the other day definitely confused me and I thought oh no how will class turn out, but I really enjoyed being in class. He is funny and helped me to understand the material a little when he put it into simpler terms. First impressions are tough because we all want to say we don’t judge a person but we totally do when we first meet them because we don’t know anything about them other than how they look or what they say or do when we are introduced to them. We may not judge them in a bad way but everyone I believe has their own way of seeing a person a certain way when you first meet them. Whether its the outfit they are wearing or their facial expressions, hairstyle etc. they each have features that are used to make an impression of the person and the impact will help determine how the interaction with the person will turn out when you first meet them. There are some great studies on first impressions and your post was an excellent topic to talk about great post.


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