Trained attack dog Samo leaps forward toward a...

Jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius (Reading People) has a “personal hardness scale” to help make quick judgments about people. She asks if you’ve ever walked away from meeting someone thinking “What a jerk!” or “What a nice guy.” She said at one end of her scale, it’s “cold” and the other end is “hot”.

Cold people are uncaring, critical, intolerant, unforgiving, harsh, punitive, and self-centered. They’re analytical, scan the facts and make quick decisions. Their motto is “What’s in it for me?”

The hot people are compassionate, generous, fair, sincere, affectionate, gentle, forgiving, family-oriented, and understand human frailty. They give the benefit of the doubt, are patient, and inquisitive. They don’t want to hurt anyone and want to do the right thing.

Dimitrius said that if she can peg someone quickly on this scale, it tells her how they are likely to think and behave and how to communicate with them.

And that’s before you even open your mouth: Princeton psychologist Alex Todorov found that within 1/10 of a second of seeing your facial features, people have already made a judgment about whether or not they are attracted to you, if they can trust you, how competent you are, or even if they will like you as a person.