The great thing about thin-slicing, argues Gladwell, is that we can all do it, especially when it comes to thin-slicing each other.Evolution has honed our social intelligence, allowing us read people accurately based on fleeting first impressions – which is why speed dating and chatroulette might actually be a good idea.
But now, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have found that people make such speed-dating decisions based on a combination of two different factors that are related to activity in two distinct parts of the brain.
We don’t even need to meet our potential future partners in the flesh: just a quick webcam peek of their bedrooms is enough to accurately guess their key personality traits.
But how can marketers harness the power of thin-slicing to cut through data smog and make smarter decisions?
The study was focused on the neural mechanisms behind snap judgments—how those judgments relate to long-term romantic success, he says, is another question.
In addition to Cooper and O'Doherty, the other authors of the paper are Caltech graduate student Simon Dunne and Teresa Furey of Trinity College Dublin.