Academic Diversity Activity: First Impressions

Goal

Participants will discover that their first impressions of people are not always true.

Time

10-20 minutes, depending on discussion.

Materials

Enough copies of "The Herman Grid" for each participant.

Procedure

Pass out copies of "The Herman Grid." Ask participants to share their first impression of this image. Ask if they see gray dots in the white spaces.

Discussion

Are the gray dots really there?

This is an example of how we sometimes see things that do not exist. Sometimes this happens when we see people, too. Ask participants to think about the following questions:

Have you ever had a wrong first impression of someone who had a different background or came from another culture?

Has someone from a different background or another culture ever had the wrong first impression of you?

Ask participants to share and discuss their examples in the large group or in small groups.

First Impressions (PDF)

The Herman Grid (PDF)

Credit:
Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences

From Casse, Pierre. Training for the cross-cultural mind: A handbook for cross-cultural trainers and consultants. 2nd edition. Washington, D.C.: The Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research, 1981.