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Going beyond first impressions: A Social Experiment

We go through life thinking we know the people sitting next to us in meetings or smiling at us in the hallway. But do we know who they really are?

Sixteen J&J employees participated in a guided social experiment. Together we wanted to find out how much you can tell about a person based on just one look.

June 08, 2022
This is the Audio Snack, where we feed you a new perspective in under six minutes. Here we meet Jack the pilot and learn about our mental shortcuts. So grab a coffee, plug in your headphones, and snack now!

«Pause, Rewind, Review and Repeat»

Many of our unconscious biases are the result of misleading first impressions. Or in other words, a shortcut our brain makes under time pressure to quickly categorize the person standing in front of us. If we recognize and work on these patterns, we can dissolve them together and move to conscious inclusion. Our four protagonists explain what conscious action means to them and how you can become an ally in your daily life.

Ways to transform your biases into conscious actions

  • Do you mostly pay attention to news stories that confirm your opinions?

    Try to read the same story from other sources and perspectives. You will notice that one story has many different sides.
  • Do you mostly spend time with people who share your opinions or beliefs?

    Ask a colleague you don’t know that well for lunch or coffee. In doing so you gather new insights that can broaden your horizon.
  • Are you afraid to say something judgmental or wrong when asking someone about their attributes?

    Conscious inclusion is based on acceptance. Questions are okay. As long as your intentions are to learn more about how to become an ally, you won’t be judged for not knowing everything there is about inclusion.

Bring all your unique attributes to work

Moving from awareness to action, you have the power to transform your unconscious biases into conscious inclusion. By creating an environment of openness for your co-workers, you inspire their minds and hearts.

Because when you can be your authentic self in the workplace, you can feel more creative, energized, empowered and complete.

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Special Thanks
The whole experiment was filmed authentically to capture the true nature of biased first impressions. A special thank you to the twelve audience members, who were willing to show their decision making. And thank you to Florian Kress, Swapna Pillai-Amarnath, Heike Sieber and Salim Kusadasi, who shared their inspiring stories so openly with their fellow Johnson & Johnson employees and the world.

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