Can you tell if someone is good at their job just by watching them for 6 seconds?

The accuracy of strangers’ consensual judgments of personality based on “thin slices” of targets’ nonverbal behavior were examined in relation to an ecologically valid criterion variable. In the 1st study, consensual judgments of college teachers’ molar nonverbal behavior based on very brief (under 30 sec) silent video clips significantly predicted global end-of-semester student evaluations of teachers. In the 2nd study, similar judgments predicted a principal’s ratings of high school teachers. In the 3rd study, ratings of even thinner slices (6 and 15 sec clips) were strongly related to the criterion variables. Ratings of specific micrononverbal behaviors and ratings of teachers’ physical attractiveness were not as strongly related to the criterion variable. These findings have important implications for the areas of personality judgment, impression formation, and nonverbal behavior.

Source: “Half a minute: Predicting teacher evaluations from thin slices of nonverbal behavior and physical attractiveness.” from Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 64(3), Mar 1993, 431-441.

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