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upworthy
Science

A guy with a twisted sense of humor explains how your brain is quicker to judge than your eyes

You know that saying "You never get a second chance to make a first impression?"

trustworthiness, first impressions, DNews

Who's more trustworthy?


William Haynes wants to talk to you about your brain.

He's a comedian for SourceFed, and he's got kind of a strange, dark sense of humor.

So when he was invited to host an episode of Discovery's "DNews" about the science of first impressions, we knew it was going to be awesome.


Here's what he had to say.

Your brain can decide how trustworthy a person is just by getting a split-second look at their face.

education, research, first impressions, facial recognition

That’s pretty cool... and scary.

via DNews/YouTube

GIFs from "DNews."

Researchers, in a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that our brains help us form all kinds of spontaneous judgments of people that we may not even be aware of, including whether we can trust them.

It's all thanks to the amygdala, the walnut-shaped area of the brain that helps us process strong emotions.

amygdala, neuroscience, studies, brain

Are we programmed to react without knowing it?

via DNews/YouTube

In the study, two groups of participants were analyzed. The first group was asked to rate how much they trusted certain people by looking at their faces while the researchers measured activity in the amygdala. Simple enough.

The second group was asked to lay inside an MRI machine while faces flashed on a screen in front of them. But here's the catch: The faces appeared and disappeared so quickly that the people in this group couldn't even really see them.

Here's what the study found.

Regardless of whether you get a long look at someone's face or only a glance, your amygdala lights up like crazy.

What's even cooler is that participants in the study pretty much agreed on which faces were trustworthy and which ones weren't.

There were certain traits that stood out as shady, like furrowed eyebrows and shallow cheekbones, in particular.

first impression, judgement, testing, agreeable

What is the science behind a first impression?

via DNews/YouTube

This only begins to scratch the surface of the super-awesome science behind first impressions.

Did you know that a person's voice can have a similar effect on perception, even in small doses?

After testing a group of 64 people, researchers in Scotland found that participants were consistently able to agree on which personality traits corresponded to which voices they heard — based solely on hearing them speak the word "hello."

The biggest remaining question is whether these snap judgments have a measurable impact on our behavior.

A study by Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal found something pretty interesting.

According to Lifehacker, the two compared "the ratings given to college professors by classes at the end of the semester with ratings that another group of students gave the same professors based only on three ten-second silent video clips shown prior to any actual lectures."

The two groups mostly agreed on how much they liked the professors, indicating that, just maybe, first impressions really do matter.

Watch the full episode of "DNews" to learn more about cool brain stuff and catch William Haynes' killer one-liners below:

This article originally appeared on 10.18.14


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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

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