Perception Process: First Impressions

The elements of the perception process, which affect the first impressions of a person, carry certain value judgments. Wood (2015) analyzes this topic and notes that among such factors, one can highlight direct definition, reflected appraisal, attachment styles, identity scripts, and some other instruments. These tools affect perception and, in particular, the first impression that a person makes. Specific labels that arise upon acquaintance are the consequences of the original judgments. For instance, certain patterns of caregiving, which refer to attachment styles, are the drivers that shape specific behavioral manners and largely determine how strongly a person perceives the prevailing opinions about oneself. The aforementioned aspects of the perception process can replace one another or be combined into one perception mechanism. However, no one can force another person to form a specific first impression due to the factors of perception, which, in turn, are individual.

To make or leave more authentic first impressions with others, the subjectivity of the perception process should be minimized as much as possible. As Wood (2015) states, when a person is involved in interpersonal communication, his or her perception of reality is transformed and adapted to individual behavioral patterns. In other words, those personal styles and manners serve as key evaluative factors and determine the attitude towards an interlocutor, which, in turn, can be biased. The ability to eliminate labels and stigmas in the process of such interaction makes it possible to both perceive the behavior of another objectively and eliminate bias towards oneself. As a result, the factor of subjectivity is a key stimulus that equates perception with first impressions. Thus, adapting to a specific communication environment and avoiding labels are ways to minimize bias.


Wood, J. T. (2015). Interpersonal communication: Everyday encounters (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

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PsychologyWriting. "Perception Process: First Impressions." January 15, 2022.