Author Archives: abolen

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.

Exploring Autism

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For eight years I have worked for a family with children on the autism spectrum. Autism is a term that is not easy to explain or define. Even with tons of research, so many aspects of autism are still unknown.

Many articles about this topic involve descriptions of various brain structures. The hippocampus is one highly studied area of the brain. A study involving eight to twelve year old children found that the hippocampus of children with autism is larger when compared to the control group. The study also found that the size difference of the hippocampus diminishes as children get older.

Declarative memory is also associated with the hippocampus. People with autism are often able to remember general facts without a problem. Having the capability to remember facts can help those with autism to develop social scripts. These scripts can be useful for daily tasks, such as remembering how to behave in different social settings. Creating social scripts can help people with autism to successfully introduce themselves when meeting new people. On the other hand, those with autism do have a hard time with autobiographical information, which is also a part of memory. A lot of specific details do not tend to stick in the minds of people that are on the autism spectrum.

Flexibility of switching thought processes is also difficult for those with autism. In particular, it is the rapid transition from internal thoughts and the external world that pose difficulties. The article mentions that deciding what to say next in a conversation is a decision which happens in just seconds, making it difficult for the brain to switch thought processes.

This article also points out that much more research on autism and the brain is still to be done. Some more recent work has been done on rats, but not yet humans. Perhaps research in the future will expand on this topic. (picture)