Title: Making a Good Impression: from "Forty Studies That Changed Psychology"

Topics: Psychology, Cognition, Personality psychology Pages: 2 (602 words) Published: March 2, 2008
Solomon Asch was a very significant social psychologist that influences social and cognitive research today, especially his Central Trait Theory and in the area of impression formation. According to the article, "Making a Good Impression" from "Forty Studies that Changed Psychology", "Asch recognized that we usually have at least several characteristics from which to form an impression of a person." He realized that one does not recognize another person as being composed of several distinct traits or characteristics, but one forms a unified impression of the whole person. The purpose of Asch's research was to not only discover how one "mentally and cognitively organizes these various discrete characteristics to produce this single unified impression", but also to prove that a single word change in a description of someone will create a variation of the entire impression formed.

The method in which Asch used to create his theory consisted of several experiments. The first study was composed of two groups of university students that were asked to listen to a list of adjectives describing a person's qualities and to form an impression of this person described. According to the study, "the groups heard the following lists: Group A: Intelligent, Skillful, Industrious, Warm, Determined, Practical, Cautious. Group B: Intelligent, Skillful, Industrious, Cold, Determined, Practical, Cautious". The second study followed the same method and procedure, but with two differences. First, the number of subjects in both groups were decreased and second the substitution of "warm vs. cold" with the traits "polite vs. blunt". Both experiments were performed in a laboratory setting.

The general results of these two experiments supported Asch's theory that one does not recognize a person as being made up of several traits, but instead one has a "general unified impression of the whole person". With these results, according to the article, "Asch discovered something about how...
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