First Impression

Topics: Sociology, Behavior, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life Pages: 4 (1095 words) Published: May 12, 2013
First Impressions

John Young


This paper explains how first impressions strike people and how they relate to Maslow’s theory of human needs. The paper also conducts an experiment by reading an article from Clark’s First Impressions and comparing two stories and reading them in reverse order in the article to discover how first impressions affect people’s perspective on others.

First Impressions

In one of his famous play As You Like It, Shakespeare (1980, p. 40) writes “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts….” As Jaques vividly expresses in the play, human beings are performers, playing various roles on different stages and interacting with one another according to diverse conditions. Despite the fact that people cannot often choose what roles they play, they actually can decide how they play them and win acclaim from their audiences. During the entire performing career, almost every single individual strives to make good first impressions through image construction. It is an inevitable action because it is the way how people interact. Erving Goffman, a prominent sociologist who theorized social interaction through dramaturgical analysis, indicates:

…. A person is not an isolated thing, but an image carved out of the whole life space of his or her interactions with others…. Each person’s self is a reflection of the responses of others, and each person gives others parts of himself in return…. Ordinarily, one derives one’s feeling of self from acting with a variety of people in many contexts” (Collins and Makowsky, 1993, p. 239).

With the image construction, people interact and communicate with one another to acquire essential information from those present. Judging from the collected information, the people involved in the...
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