Impression track records

It is good to separate impressions from beliefs.

It is good to keep track records.

Is it good to keep separate impression and belief track records?

My default guess would be ‘a bit, but probably too much effort, since we hardly manage to keep any track records.’

But it seems maybe more than a bit good, for these reasons:

  1. Having good first impressions, and being good at turning everyone’s impressions into a good overall judgment might be fairly different skills, so that some people are good at one and some are good at the other, and you get a clearer signal if you separate them.
  2. We probably by default mostly learn about beliefs and not impressions, because by assumption if I have both and they are different, I suspect the impression is wrong, and so will make me look worse if I advertise that I hold it.
  3. Impressions are probably better than beliefs to have track records for, because the point of the track records is to know how much to weight to give different sources when constructing beliefs, and it is more straightforward to know directly which sources are good than to know which aggregations of sources are good (especially if they are mostly bad, because nobody has track records).

As in, perhaps we mostly keep belief track records when we keep track records, but would do better with impression track records. What would we do if we wanted to keep impression track records instead? (Do we already?)

2 responses to “Impression track records

  1. Pingback: Rational Feed – deluks917

  2. Even if we tracked first impressions it would be hard to get a good measure of their reliability.

    After all, whether or not we continue to interact with people and get further information about them is highly dependent on our initial impressions. So its difficult to separate out the accuracy of our impression of someone as trustworthy or a gossip from the base rate at which people pass on information or fail to pay back money.

    Maybe if one kept track in an environment like an office where future interaction wasn’t really up to you that would be better. However, even there most first impressions aren’t quantitative in nature. Our impression is that someone is compassionate, mean, stuck-up etc.. and none of those is easily transformed into a quantitative measure. The danger is that if we have an impression of someone as compassionate then we will be more inclined to interpret the same behavior on their part as compassionate than on someone else’s.

    Sure, one could track how often our later impressions match our first impressions but that’s of limited usefulness without some kind of objective metric to measure them against.

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