How Reliable Are First Impressions?

August 22, 2017

From an interesting article in Ars Technica on how we can overestimate what we extract from first impressions:

Other people’s faces are thus more akin to mirrors reflecting our own biases than to windows revealing their owners’ inner lives; the first impressions we make of other people based on their faces say more about us than about them.

The article is a review of a recent book: Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions by Alexander Todorov (Princeton Uni Press, 2017):

We make up our minds about others after seeing their faces for a fraction of a second—and these snap judgments predict all kinds of important decisions. For example, politicians who simply look more competent are more likely to win elections. Yet the character judgments we make from faces are as inaccurate as they are irresistible; in most situations, we would guess more accurately if we ignored faces. So why do we put so much stock in these widely shared impressions? What is their purpose if they are completely unreliable? In this book, Alexander Todorov, one of the world’s leading researchers on the subject, answers these questions as he tells the story of the modern science of first impressions.

Advertisements

The Design Museum, London

August 8, 2017

The Design Museum and some surrounding buildings, that are also very impressive, which all adds to the overall vista

“The world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary design in every form from architecture and fashion to graphics, product and industrial design.”

The striking entrance to the museum

I’ve been meaning to visit the Design Museum for years. It used to be near Tower Bridge so was a little out of the way for most of my visits to London. However in November last year it was moved to a very impressive and much larger new building in High Street Kensington.

As you can see the bulk of the building is empty space with rooms at all levels around the sides. There are a variety of exhibitions, events and workshops running.

The impressive Designer motif (that changes to Maker and User through flipping screens)

The free permanent exhibition, Designer Maker User (the only one I had time to view, see above), presents it’s themes clearly and interestingly. It was however quite a bit smaller than what I would have imagined considering the remit of the museum (perhaps there are various practical constraints). Other (and rather mixed) views on visiting the museum can be found on TripAdvisor.

Some example text from the permanent exhibition

The famous Anglepoise type lamps

The Design Museum is certainly worth a visit, for families as well as schools, and the very attractive Holland Park is also nearby.

Approaching the museum from Holland Park

Some interesting additional background on the museum (extracted from from Wikipedia):

The museum was founded in 1989 by Sir Terence Conran and was originally housed in a former 1940s banana warehouse on the south bank of the River Thames in the Shad Thames area in SE1 London.

In June 2011, Sir Terence Conran donated £17.5 million to enable the Museum to move in 2016 from the warehouse to a larger site which formerly housed the Commonwealth Institute in west London.

The move brought the museum into Kensington’s cultural quarter, joining the Royal College of Art, V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Serpentine Gallery.

The top-floor space under the spectacular museum roof houses a permanent display, Designer Maker User, with key objects from the museum’s collection. It is the only one in the UK devoted exclusively to contemporary design and architecture.