Judging people based on set of rules and laws you have devised may not always be the brightest policy! Sure, it can be used as a yardstick that helps you quickly determine how the person might fit into “your” world and perception but by no means this is a universal mechanism.
New research is revealing that these split-second judgments are often wrong, however, because they rely on crude stereotypes and other mental shortcuts. Last year psychologist Nicolas Kervyn and his colleagues published studies showing how we jump to conclusions about people’s competence based on their warmth and vice versa. When the researchers showed participants facts about two groups of people, one warm and one cold, the participants tended to assume that the warm group was less competent than the cold group; likewise, if participants knew one group to be competent and the other not, they asked questions whose answers confirmed their hunch that the first group was cold and the second warm. The upshot: your gain on one [trait] can be your loss on the other.
This “compensation effect,” which occurs when we compare people rather than evaluating each one separately, runs counter to the well-known halo effect, in which someone scoring high on one quality gets higher ratings on other traits. But both effects are among several mistakes people often make in inferring warmth and competence. We see high-status individuals as competent even if their status was an accident of birth. And when we judge warmth, rivalry plays a role: If someone is competing with you, you assume they’re a bad person.
The good news is that if you belong to a stereotyped group or otherwise know how people see you, you can try changing your image. A competent politician who strikes the public as cold, for example, can draw on his warmth reserves to better connect with voters. After all, everybody comes across as warm or competent in some area of their lives.
There are many ways to determine fitness for purpose. But mostly it takes time. Time to gather all the facts, eliminate emotions and finally analyse and conclude in a sensible fashion. Attempting to judge loosely based on a few observations is simply not the right thing to do for you may not deduce the root cause behind these observations. We are all perfectly aware of this and yet there are countless moments each day when we violate this basic principle. Sure… there are times when further analysis is not required.
In any case, who are we to judge people after all? Try caring instead of judging, it will be a much better place to live in!!
I came across a wonderful article called “why we judge” by Alicia Smith. It’s worth a read!