Watch for an occasion when you come in contact with someone you don’t know. Using this person/occasion as an example, reflect on the following questions and actions. (You may wish to review these questions in advance of such an occasion.) When you see a person for the first time and are forming an initial impression, what information do you use? Into what groups do you place people you meet? What attributes do you apply to these groups? What does the environmental context have to do with your initial impression? In what ways do you integrate the information you use to form your first impression: the group identification and that group’s attributes, the environmental context and what you already know, your emotions, your biases, consistencies or inconsistencies, and the schemas you developed from past experiences? What are the goals you have for meeting this person? Apply elements of any of the causal attribution theories to this person/occasion. How accurate do you think this first impression is?
The assignment (1–to 3 pages): Select one person in each of the following two categories: Briefly describe each person, your goal for meeting each when you did, and your impression of each, including a description of how each behaved. A person you do not know and who you probably will not see again (clerk at the grocery story, etc.) A person you have known for some time, and for whom you can remember your first impressions (acquaintance, friend, spouse, etc.) Briefly describe each person, your goal for meeting each when you did, and your impression of each,including a description of how each behaved. Based on the Learning Resources, analyze the kinds of information and the processes that were important in forming your impression of each person. Describe the schema, prototype, and exemplars that contributed to the forming of your impression in each case. Apply elements of causal attribution theories and concepts to explain each person’s behavior.