Which woman do you see in My Wife and My Mother-in-Law by William Ely Hill? A young one or an old one?  (Hint: the young woman’s jaw is the old women’s nose.) What we perceive depends on what we are looking for.

When I arrived at a new office for my very first supervisory job, the first thing the other supervisor assigned to show me around did was take me into the conference room, close the door, and tell me all about everyone in the office. By the time I met my fellow employees I thought I knew who they were. I didn’t of course; but, I still matched their behavior to my internal representation. So if I had been told that Ann was careless, I saw any mistake that Ann made as careless and discarded any observations that Ann might be doing good.

Additionally, as in a study by Bosson, Johnson, Niederhoffer and Swann, I felt closer to my fellow supervisor because we had shared negative information about a third party.