Nalini Ambady

Godmother of first impressions

When Nalini Ambady co-published a study in 1992 about the remarkable accuracy of flash judgments, she hardly expected that her research would become the foundation of a best-selling book more than 10 years later. But that's exactly what happened when Malcolm Gladwell's Blink hit bookshelves in 2005.

A social psychologist who taught most recently at Stanford University, Ambady--along with co-researcher Robert Rosenthal--established that accurate first impressions can be formed from mere seconds of nonverbal interaction, which she and Rosenthal called "thin slices." Ambady, who died on Oct. 28 at the age of 54, argued that analysis of thin slices could be...

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