When Pictures Frame Us

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Meet George Zimmerman (top), racist ex-con and upstanding citizen volunteer. Meet Trayvon Martin, clean-cut neighborhood kid and “suspicious” street thug.

Each of these warped caricatures teaches an important lesson: We don’t just frame our pictures. Our pictures frame us—often unwittingly. 

In fact, it only takes a tenth of a second for us to jump to conclusions about the characters of people based on their photos, according to research conducted at Princeton University.

Furthermore, the research showed that we’ll often cling to that snap judgment in the face of contrary evidence. We judge and then rationalize, rather than reason and conclude. 

The same “instant framing” takes place when people view our Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media photos, as demonstrated by new resesearch conducted at Ohio State

What does your profile photo say about you? Like it or not, people are judging you by that image right now.