The work of Asch

The work of Asch, that inspired the impression formation, implies that a person form impressions of another person . Asch ask participants to read a lists of words and then he ask them to form impressions of that one person. (Research gate,2014). For example, the participants read from the list of words that consisted of “intelligent, skilful, industrious, warm, determined, practical, and cautious (Research gate,2014).” Once the participants had read from that list , the participants then chose other words that could also describe the person .(Research gate,2014). Asch was able to discover some important principles of impression formation when using this simple techniqe (Research gate,2014). It was found that the substitution of a word could dramatically shift a person view and impressions of the person. This approach is known as the configural model (Research gate,2014).

Asch’s Paradigm is too simplistic, impression formation is far more complicated than this theory suggests. Impression formation should be considered as more of a fluid process as the characteristics that we find acceptable change over time along with our perception. This study came under criticism as the subjects of the study had to choose words given from a list instead of being able to use their own words, critics in turn claimed that this was an artificial study. However, understanding this theory would allow people a constructive method of deciding which people they allow in their lives. Although, it has been criticised as the participants of the study had to choose from words that were given to them, instead of being able to use their own words, as well as, ignoring a persons gut instinct and focuses only on the cognitive processing. Although, it also gives people the basic understanding of how we form impressions of people.

(class note,2018)

According to Anderson’s model, we form impressions in two stages.
The first stage, we assign numeric values to each trait that we encounter in a person (Social Psychology, 2013). These points can be negative or can be positive. When we meet a person which appears to be attractive, intelligent and arrogant, in a person mind they will assign certain points of another person traits: for example, this would be +5 for attractiveness, +9 for intelligence and -8 for arrogance (Social Psychology, 2013). Then the second stage, that decide on the person’s overall likability based on their combined ‘score’. For example this person score would be equal to 5 + 9 – 8 = 6. Although, some traits might be given more weight than others; therefore, that person would base the final impression not on the sum of that person traits’ points, but would base it on their weighted average ( Social Psychology, 2013).
Anderson theory could be considered too simplisticas too compare the complex human behavior that involves personality and emotion to a mathematical equation that results in ignoring these key factors. Anderson’s alternative to Asch could be considered a complicated method of impression formation as people don’t tend to form impression in a numerical. But even with the notable criticismus, Andersons alternative model does allow us a basic understanding of how we may process information when forming impressions (class notes,2018).