Don’t judge a book by its cover – Mr. Matthieu Dupui – TBRFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 4th December 2018
It’s an age-old expression that many people try to adhere to: Don’t judge a book by its cover. We might not like to admit it, but most of us judge people and places by first impressions every moment of every day, often without even realising. If we break down the proverbial phrase to its literal meaning, it’s easy to understand how we could overlook a good book based on its cover. More often than not, we will buy a book as a result of what we feel its cover communicates to us. Unless the book was recommended to us, our purchase choice is emotionally driven by our first impression. So, you might flick nominally through its pages, even browse its table of contents, but it is ultimately the cover that attracts you – regardless of how entertaining the book might be.
This is often true of first impressions we form when we meet other people, whether at a job interview, or on a first date. The vast majority of us can admit that we are not immune to making an immediate evaluation of a person based on their appearance. Every feature – from the clothes and shoes we wear, to the hair on our head and the way we smile – can influence how someone reacts and responds to us. The old adage states that you don’t get a second chance to make a positive first impression and this is because a bad one can be hard to shake. Research has shown that those who do not make a positive first impression face a long, uphill battle to proving their worth in both their personal and professional lives. In fact, it can take an estimated six to eight meetings of sustained, positive interactions to undo a few seconds’ imprint of a negative first impression.[i]
Seconds to impress
Studies have indicated that a “snapshot” judgement of a person is made within 30 or 60 seconds of a first meeting, but many experts have purported that this can actually take place in the blink of an eye.[ii]It may seem an overwhelming challenge to impress someone within seconds of meeting, but our brains are naturally hardwired to our senses. This enables us to process information about our surroundings quickly so that we are able to respond accordingly. Sociolinguist, Professor Albert Mehrabian, believes the way we form opinions of someone is based – for the majority, at least – on the visual element of communication, which includes our facial expressions, body language, and how we look.[iii]
That is why appearance plays a significant role in judging an individual’s success, intelligence, popularity, confidence, and even their general health – all within a mere few seconds and usually beyond conscious control. Faces tend to be what we notice first when we meet someone, which can determine how we perceive that person. In fact, researchers at the University of York found that the shape and position of eyes on the face is linked to youthful-attractiveness, whilst features that indicate a masculine face shape can represent a dominant personality. It was also discovered that a smiling expression is often associated with approachability.[iv]
What’s in a smile?
It’s unsurprising that a smile can have substantial influence over our perceptions of others. An estimated 48% of adults believe that a smile is the most memorable feature after meeting someone for the first time, which is even more powerful than the spoken word.[v]Many of us also view discoloured, misaligned, or missing teeth as a deterrent in a potential partner, with psychologist Dr Anne Beall confirming that teeth alone can have an impact on overall attractiveness and perceptions of personal attributes.[vi]A study she carried out found that those who had undergone cosmetic and restorative dental work were regarded as more attractive, intelligent, happy, successful in their career, kind, wealthy, and popular with the opposite sex.[vii]
Irrespective of these findings, many people in Britain are now prepared to invest in improving the health and appearance of their smile. This is particularly true in cases of tooth loss, which can detrimentally affect an individual’s self-confidence and self-image, as well as their overall quality of life.[viii]Removable prosthetics such as dentures were once the go-to solution for restoring dental function, but they did not necessarily provide desirable visual or functional outcomes. As such, dental implants have grown in popularity as an effective treatment modality for partial or full edentulism. The latest implant systems are often indistinguishable from a patient’s natural teeth once placed. TBR’s Z1 implant, for instance, combines titanium for the bone and zirconia for the gingiva in one seamless component to provide patients with optimal function and a superior aesthetic result.
Evidently, first impressions are powerful and can have a significant impact on the way you are perceived by others and vice versa. As everyone knows, however, looks can be deceiving – bear this in mind the next time you are perusing shelves at the bookstore.
[i]Association for Psychological Science. (2016) Why It’s So Hard to Shake a Bad First Impression. Link: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/minds-business/why-its-so-hard-to-shake-a-bad-first-impression.html. [Last accessed: 08.08.18].
[ii]Association for Psychological Science. (2006) How Many Seconds to a First Impression? Link: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/how-many-seconds-to-a-first-impression. [Last accessed: 08.08.18].
[iii]Business Balls. (2017) Mehrabian’s Communication Theory; verbal, non-verbal, body language. Link: https://www.businessballs.com/communication-skills/mehrabians-communication-theory-verbal-non-verbal-body-language-152/. [Last accessed: 08.08.18].
[iv]Vernon, R. J. W., Sutherland, C. A. M., Young, A. W. and Hartley, T. (2014) Modeling first impressions from highly variable facial images. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1409860111.
[v]American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. (2015) Study Reveals Keys to Memorable First Impressions. Link: https://www.aacd.com/index.php?module=express&cmd=newsviewpost&id=8005. [Last accessed: 08.08.18].
[vi]D Partner Studio. (2017) Is Your Smile Keeping You from Finding “The One”? Link: https://www.dmagazine.com/sponsored/2017/01/is-your-smile-keeping-you-from-finding-the-one/. [Last accessed: 08.08.18].
[vii]Beall, A. (2007) Can a New Smile Make You Look More Intelligent and Successful? Dent Clin N Am. 51: 289-297. Link: http://digitalsmiledesign.com/static/media/can_smile.pdf. [Last accessed: 08.08.18].
[viii]Davis, D. M., Fiske, J., Scott, B. and Radford, D. R. (2000) Prosthetics: The emotional effects of tooth loss: a preliminary quantitative study. British Dental Journal. 188: 503-506. Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/4800522/. [Last accessed: 08.08.18].
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