A Discursive Social Psychological Approach to First Impression Formation

Abstract

The study aims to develop a discursive approach to first impression formation. A topic of social psychological inquiry for over 85 years, first impressions are currently studied employing an experimental methodology and a cognitive framework. This research tradition has generated a wealth of knowledge on first impression formation as a cognitive phenomenon, while systematically neglecting its vernacular manifestation. The article addresses this matter through the use of discourse analysis informed by a social psychological framework, examining both verbal and written naturally occurring first impression reports. In this case study, I recount the strategies, techniques and resources employed for carrying out a discursive analytic attempt within a discursive social psychological framework. I begin by pointing out the main aspects that discursive social psychology brings to bear upon a theoretical and methodological respecification of first impressions. Then, I describe the stages of my analytic endeavour. Each component is accompanied by practical suggestions derived from experience, as well as by reflexive considerations of the encountered methodological issues and their proposed solutions.

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