Perhaps this is why some reference desks get more traffic than others or some librarians get asked more questions than others?
Snap judgments decide a face's character, psychologist finds
We may be taught not to judge a book by its cover, but when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second, according to recent Princeton research.
Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov has found that people respond intuitively to faces so rapidly that our reasoning minds may not have time to influence the reaction -- and that our intuitions about attraction and trust are among those we form the fastest.
"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," said Todorov, an assistant professor of psychology. "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."
The research, Todorov said, explores some of the same topics addressed in "Blink," the recent best-selling book by New York journalist Malcolm Gladwell about the rapid cognition our minds experience when making decisions quickly, especially those based on first impressions made in the "blink" of an eye. Gladwell, who is often described as a type of popular sociologist, has said the impetus for his book was the rapid judgments people made about him because of his long hair.