Academic Diversity Activity: First Impressions


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


10-20 minutes, depending on discussion.


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


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.


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)

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.