Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


First Impressions: The Factors of Influence

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Laurel Traynowicz


First impressions of women are formulated from observable characteristics that convey messages about their personality characteristics and demeanor. Hair, clothing, posture, smile and eye contact are a few examples of the factors that influence these perceptions. Impression management is important not only because judgments are made in a quick and permanent manner, but they may also affect the future of a relationship before it has even started. The purpose of this study was to determine the specific factors that influence the first impressions of women, as well as the messages each of these factors convey. To collect data during the research of this topic, students at Boise State University over the age of 18 were asked to either complete an online survey or participate in a personal interview. Both methods led respondents to list or discuss elements that influence the formulation of opinions about women in five different categories: intelligence, confidence, sociability or friendliness, trustworthiness or honest and physical attractiveness. The study was limited by respondent fear of judgment and a topic scope that was larger than anticipated; however, the results of this study revealed that (a) as a whole, first impressions are influenced by nonverbal communication and body language more than clothing, hairstyles and accessories, and (b) first impressions can not be scientifically determined due the highly subjective nature of the elements of social desirability.