Monthly Article Archives: May 2009

Be Cautious about First Impressions: The Case of Susan Boyle (and Many Others)Robert Brooks, Ph.D.

My wife Marilyn suggested that I write this website article about Susan Boyle. I have always welcomed Marilyn’s advice about topics for my monthly columns, including two of my favorites- the 2004 Red Sox after they won the team’s first World Series in 86 years and Billy Crystal’s play “700 Sundays.” Why an article devoted to Susan Boyle? Marilyn and I had just watched one of the most viewed videos posted on YouTube during the past month, which if you have not seen it you may wish to do so before reading further (simply go to YouTube and type in “Susan Boyle”). Susan was a contestant on the television show “Britain’s Got Talent,” similar to “American Idol” in the United States. The three judges were Simon Cowell (well-known to viewers in the States for his often harsh, acerbic feedback on “American Idol”), Amanda Holden, and Piers Morgan. Susan walked on the stage and was described in one article as heavy and frumpy looking. She immediately had difficulty thinking of the word “villages” when asked where she lived. Simon questioned how old she was and Susan responded 47. In learning of her age, Simon rolled his eyes as if to suggest

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