How good are we at judging people?

We subconsciously make decisions all the time about people. From the first seconds we see people we already have a ‘first impression’ of them.

It is in business, dating, your social life, job hunting everywhere were you meet people for the first time, you make certain impression. A lot of people have their opinion ready before they even have spoken with each other. But the problem we face is that law enforcement has a bad reputation and with that loses respect from its citizens because of what you could call ‘ethnic profiling’. Now, I’ll be the first to say that it is VERY difficult these days to distinguish between a bad guy/women a good guy/women.

For example, you have some bankers whom have given their industry a bad reputation because of what you might call ‘greed’ and really bad integrity. Same also goes for the ‘overwhelmingly’ confident man who tends to attract good-looking women (symmetry face) and has a tendency to be a stalker, you now the type when you see him at a party. Or the colored guy in the hoody ‘acting suspicious’, whatever that means.

Look, more often that not it really hard to read someones body language. It is an art really. We tend to insinuate a lot, same goes for myself. It is hard these days to really get to the true person. The average man or women tells 3 lies per 10 minutes. Even in court where people are obliged by law to tell the truth but the memory plays tricks on the mind. How? Psychologist Daniel Schacter revealed that the memory of the human mind is perceptible to volatility, absent-mindedness, prejudice and many more factors. So the memory when questioning people is not exactly accurate about a certain event, far from it by most people. This makes profiling and even getting information about people really hard.

Every person has needs. This plays in to the fundamentals of every person. If one or more of these fundamentals gets hurt or worse gets destroyed you’re left with a somewhat broken person. Most people whom have studies economics have come across Abraham Maslow. The Maslow pyramid explains to some extend why people react the way they react.


The bottom three are most important to a happy person. When we look at people who do not feel at home in a country or who get ‘wrongly’ set a side by police or other impact full establishments (like being denied access to a party or a store), these people fall into one of these three categories. I hardly have all the answers.

I want to understand ethnic profiling and why it often goes so wrong. A psychologist named Kurt Lewin ones said:

If you want to understand something, try changing it.