Visual Perception and Why it Matters

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The human brain is a funny thing. As intelligent and creative as it can be, it has its pitfalls. 

What are we talking about?

As we’re sure you’re aware, our brains love to take mental shortcuts when presented with incomplete or unfamiliar information. These shortcuts usually involve drawing from previous memories and experiences and applying that information to any new scenario that vaguely resembles previous information the brain has encountered. 

Visual Perception Theory 

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There’s actually a theory on why this happens. Meet psychologist Richard Gregory. He argued that perception is a process that requires the brain to process information from the top-down. Top-down processing simply means that context clues are used in order to notice patterns in our surroundings. Context helps us understand the world around us with less mental effort. Our brains are wired to conserve energy for survival purposes. This is especially true when we’re burning calories unnecessarily. Because of this, any mental processing shortcuts the brain can take to save us from thinking harder than we need to are welcome. 

The interesting part of this theory is that approximately 90% of the information that your eye sees is lost by the time it reaches the brain. This means that any vague information in your environment forces your brain to search for higher cognitive information to fill this gap. Ultimately, the brain borrows information from our past experiences and knowledge. Once this information is accessed, it is used to make assumptions or inferences about what the brain is perceiving. 

First Impressions 

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So why do we care?

In today’s digital world, people commonly meet you for the first time virtually, whether through a formal introduction or looking at your online profiles. An often-cited series of experiments at Princeton found that it takes only 1/10th of a second to form an impression of a stranger by looking at their face. The study specifically looked at these traits: attractiveness, likeability, competence, trustworthiness, and aggressiveness, with trustworthiness being the trait that seemed to be judged most accurately, regardless of time spent looking at a face. This tells us that humans are adept at judging trustworthiness with a great deal of speed and accuracy. 

Therefore, portraying yourself in the best possible way online is monumental to your success. 

A major component of your online presence, as we all know, is your photo. How many times have you found yourself googling someone’s name before meeting them just to see their photo? We know we have.

This leads us to work with human nature, not against it. The science suggests individuals we see as trustworthy, confident, and approachable are individuals we are likely to do business with. For this reason, a dynamic headshot that embodies those traits outperforms one that is lacking in authenticity. At Omaha Headshot Company, we’ve mastered the art of visual communication. You can signal all of these traits to others through a headshot that shows you in your best light, all without saying a word. 


Headshot of smiling female professional

So, whether you’re meeting someone in person, showcasing your storefront, or working on your website, knowing how quick we are to make judgments and assumptions about others will help you make better decisions. 

If you’re ready to take control of the way you’re perceived online, schedule a headshot session with us today! 

Not quite ready? No worries. Check out this blog post that answers one of the most common questions we get asked before a headshot session. 

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