An example of this can be seen in an Ambady and Rosenthal experiment in 1993, in which they assessed the effect of thin slicing with 2-, 5-, and 10-second clips of non-verbal behaviors of teachers and the viewers' ratings of those teachers afterwards.
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While both sexes were equally good in making positive evaluations about their partners, females made more specific descriptions than males, and males might engage in observing the superficial if they only noticed negative characteristics in the beginning of the date.
Still, the overall result showed that speed dating did make the participants look more favorable in each other's eyes.
More specifically, researchers look at how people make judgments based on their observations of others' minor traits such as eye contact, fidgeting, open-handed gestures, stiff posture, smiling, etc.
Behaviors such as frowning, fidgeting, and gazing down had poor ratings for traits describing the teacher's confidence, warmth and optimism while teachers with positive ratings for these traits smiled more, were more likely to walk around and touch their upper torsos.
Judgments based on thin-slicing can be as accurate, or even more accurate, than judgments based on much more information.
The first recorded use of the term was in 1992 by Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal in a meta-analysis in the Psychological Bulletin.
Many studies have shown that brief observations can be used to assess outcomes at levels higher than expected by chance.
Once comparing these observations of less than five minutes to those greater than five minutes, the data show no significant change, thus implying that observations made within the first few minutes are unchanging.
The term means making very quick inferences about the state, characteristics or details of an individual or situation with minimal amounts of information.