We tend to make a decision about a person within 30 seconds of meeting them for the first time. If we are asked why we will simply say they were creepy or nice or fill in the blank. We do that without thinking until after the fact and then pick out details to support our decision.
We have ever since we were babies developed our ability to mind read. That is our ability to determine intent from a rapid scan of a person's face. As we get older we pick up on the incongruities between words spoken and facial expressions. We all know when our friends are lying to us when they say they are happy but look sad.
I remember a person that I used to see all the time when I was at a coffee shop. He was always frowning and never smiled at anyone including his kids that came in with him from time to time. We ended up one time helping out at a school fun day. One of his kids won an event and came over to his dad with the ribbon which he gave to his dad and his dad congratulated him without any smile. So after his dad went to do something I asked the boy if his dad ever smiled. He said no my dad was in an accident and damaged the nerves in his face and he can't smile. So much for my judgement.
It is an important ability we use to keep ourselves safe and we use it at a subconscious level. We just know. But sometimes our snap judgements are wrong. I know I still struggle with this one and if I have enough time I will give people the benefit of the doubt.
What has been your experience?