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First impression is the last impression

world Updated: Jan 21, 2011 01:19 IST

A new study has found out why first impressions are long lasting.

The research by a team of psychologists from Canada, Belgium, and the United States shows there is more than a literal truth to the saying that 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression'.

Their results indicate that new experiences that contradict a first impression become 'bound' to the context in which they were made, so the new experiences influence people's reactions only in that particular context, whereas first impressions still dominate in other contexts.

"Imagine you have a new colleague at work and your impression of that person is not very favourable. A few weeks later, you meet your colleague at a party and you realize he is actually a very nice guy," said Bertram Gawronski, Canada Research Chair at The University of Western Ontario.

"Although you know your first impression was wrong, your gut response to your new colleague will be influenced by your new experience only in contexts that are similar to the party. However, your first impression will still dominate in all other contexts."