Do you act as Judge & Jury?

We’ve all heard about the two minute rule – that most of us,  when interviewing,  decide about a candidate within two minutes of meeting them.

It now appears that the two minute rule of judgement is an over estimation, research on how our brains make decisions about trust has shown that decisions about whether we trust people or not is made by our brains before we are even consciously aware of a face!  Reported in The Journal of Neuroscience the research by New York University was conducted by flashing images of faces to volunteers for only milliseconds whilst their brain activity was being monitored –  specifically activity in the amygdala, a region of the brain that plays a key role in decision making and emotional behaviour.  This study pinpoints exactly when the brain renders it’s judgement about trustworthiness and it’s frighteningly quick.   “Our findings suggest that the brain automatically responds to a face’s trustworthiness before it is even consciously perceived,”  Dr. Jonathan Freeman,  assistant professor of psychology at New York University and the study’s senior author,  “The results are consistent with an extensive body of research suggesting that we form spontaneous judgments of other people that can be largely outside awareness.”



We know from our own research that most people cite a gap of 30% between their current performance and their potential – our habit of judging others contributes to this.



We can be closed to others before we even hear what they say.  It can stop us growing – being open to new ideas, experiences or people or stop us promoting the growth of others.    Our snap judgements cloud our ability to be objective, leading to managers hiring the mirror images of themselves (an office of clones anyone?) stops us seeing the value in difference and stifles diversity.  We are challenged to work with people who are not ‘just like us’.
It also stops us taking a kind approach to others when they say or do something that either triggers us or challenges our own view.  When we judge people we work with we can be blind to their true potential or possibilities, we can put them in a box and make up our own story about them that may not be true or could be unjust.

The good new is all our brains are elastic, we can learn new habits of thinking to create a more open mind and an ability to adapt and grow.

Tips for opening your mind.

  • Become conscious of your everyday running commentary on what is going on around you – how often are you being judgemental about others?
  • Consciously notice the differences you see or feel in a blink – learn how you filter the world around you.  If you don’t like your filters you can change them.
  • Create a habit of reacting to the ideas and opinions of others in a neutral way.
  • Learn to pause before reacting to something that challenges your view of the world – choose to respond in a positive way.
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