PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY (HUM‐101)
IMPRESSION FORMATION AND IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT
Impression formation and impression management are two important topics within social
perception. They are concerned with ways in which we influence others and help them to form
impressions about ourselves. We also behave in ways so as to alter other's perception, generally
in more positive ways towards ourselves.
Impression formation and impression management are interrelated topics having
considerable practical significance in our everyday life. We very quickly form impression of
people whom we meet. We also make attempts to create favourable impression on others, so as
to gain ...view middle of the document...
Large number of research studies have shown that first impression do
seem to exert a lasting effect on both, social thought and social behaviour (Anderson 1981, Wyer
et al, 1994).
Impression Management: It is also called as self-presentation. It deals with the various methods
and efforts that individuals use to produce a favorable impression about himself/herself on
others. We often attempt to influence others by projecting ourselves in ways which will present
us in a favorable light. We often behave, act, dress and express ourselves in ways that produce
favorable impressions on others. Impression Management is a skillful activity. Research on
impression management has shown that people who can perform impression management
successfully are often successful in many situations as they help others to form positive and good
impressions about themselves.
1.3 RESEARCH BY SOLOMON ASH ON CENTRAL AND PERIPHERAL TRAITS
IN IMPRESSION FORMATION:
Solomon Asch (1946) did pioneering studies in the areas of Impression formation. He
was heavily influenced by the work of Gestalt Psychologists, who believed that "the whole is
greater than the sum of its parts" . Like Gestalt Psychologists, Solomon Asch held the view that
we do not form impression simply by adding together all of the traits we observe in other
persons. Rather, we perceive these traits in relation to one another, so that the traits cease to exist
individually and become, instead, part of an integrated, dynamic whole. Asch studied impression
formation by using a simple method. He gave individuals lists of traits supposedly possessed by
a stranger, and then asked them to indicate their impression of this person by checking the traits
on a long list that they felt fit with their impression of the stranger.
In one of his study participants were given the following two lists.
• Intelligent - skilful - industrious - warm - determined - practical -cautious.
• Intelligent - skilful - industrious - cold - determined - practical - cautious.
The above lists differed only with respect to two words: warm and cold. Thus, if people
form impressions merely by adding together individual traits, the impression formed by persons
exposed to these lists would not differ very much. The results of his study revealed that persons
who read the list containing "warm" were much more likely to view the stranger as generous,
happy, good natured, sociable, popular, and altruistic than were people who read the list
According to Asch, the words "warm" and "cold" described central traits -- ones that
strongly shaped overall impressions of the stranger and coloured the other adjectives in the lists.
Asch obtained additional support for this view by substituting the words "polite" and "blunt" for
"warm" and "cold." When he did this, the effects on participant's impressions of the stranger
were far weaker; "polite" and "blunt", it appeared, were not central words with a strong impact