Improving Social Perception

Improving Social Perception

The following guidelines can aid you in constructing a more realistic impression of others as well as in assessing the validity of your own perceptions.

1. Question the accuracy of your perceptions. Questioning accuracy begins by saying, I know what I think I saw, heard, tasted, smelled, or felt, but I could be wrong. What else could help me sort this out? By accepting the
possibility of error you, may be motivated to seek further verification. In situations where the accuracy of perception is important, take a few seconds to double-check. It will be worth the effort.

2. Seek more- information. to verify perceptions. If your perception has been based on only one or 2 pieces of information, try to collect additional information before you allow yourself to form an impression so that you can increase the accuracy of your perceptions. At least note that your perception is tentative-that is, subject to change. You can then make a conscious effort to collect more data to determine whether the original perception is accurate. The best way to get information about people is to talk with them.

Unfortunately we tend to void people we don’t know much about. It’s OK to be unsure about how to treat someone from another culture or someone who is disabled. But rather than letting this hold you back, ask the person for the information you need to be more comfortable.

3. Realize that perceptions of people may need to be changed over time. People often saddle themselves with perceptions that are based on old or incomplete information and find it easier to stick with a perception, even if it is wrong, than to change it. Willingness to change means making an effort to observe this person’s behavior at other times without bias and being prepared to modify your perception if the person’s behavior warrant, it. It takes strength of character to say to yourself or others, I was wrong. But communication based on outdated, inaccuracy e perceptions be more costly than revising y  perceptions.

4. Use perception checking to verify conclusions you have drawn. A perception check is a verbal statement that reflects your own understanding of the meaning of another person’s nonverbal cues. Perception checking calls for you to (1) watch the behavior of the other person, (2) ask yourself, What does that behavior mean to me? and (3) put your interpretation of the behavior into words to verify whether your perception is accurate.

In these two examples the final sentence in each is a perception check:

Ted, the company messenger, delivers a memo to Erin. As Erin reads the note, her eyes brighten and she breaks into a smile. Ted says, Hey, Erin, you seem really pleased. Am I right?

Cesar, speaking in short, precise sentences with a sharp tone of voice, gives Bill his day’s assignment. Bill says, From the sound of your voice, Cesar, I can’t help but get the impression that you’re upset with me. Are you?

Perception checking brings the meaning that was received through nonverbal cues into the verbal realm where it can be verified or corrected. For instance, when Bill says, “I can’t help but get the impression that you’re upset with me. Are you?” Cesar may say (1) “No, whatever gave you that impression? in which case Bill can further describe the cues he received; (2) “Yes, I am,” in which case Bill can get Cesar to specify what has caused the feelings; or (3) “No, it’s not you; it’s just that three of my team members didn’t show up for this. If Cesar is not upset with him, Bill can deal with what caused him to misinterpret Cesar’s feelings. If Cesar is upset with him, Bill has the opportunity of changing the behavior that caused Cesar to be upset. Even though you may be correct most of the time in identifying another person’s feelings, if you do not verbally perception-check, you are still guessing what the other person is really feeling.

You will want to check your perceptions whenever the accuracy of your understanding is important (1) to your current communication, (2) ‘to the relationship you have with the other person, or (3) to the conclusions you draw about that person. Most of us use this skill far too little, if at all.

Although perception checking may not always eliminate defensive behavior, it can reduce the likelihood of misinterpreting another’s nonverbal cues and thus the likelihood of defensiveness. As with most skills, to become competent you must practice.

Summary Perception of Self and Others

Perception is the process of gathering sensory information and assigning meaning  to it. Our perceptions are a result of our selection, organization, and interpretation of sensory information. Inaccurate perceptions cause us to see the world not as iris but as we would like it to be.

Self concept is the idea or mental image you have about your skills, your abilities, your knowledge, your competencies, and your personality. Self esteem is the degree to which you have a favorable impression of yourself. The inaccuracy of a distorted picture of oneself becomes magnified through self fulfilling
prophecies and by  filtering messages. Our self concept and self esteem moderate competing internal messages in our self talk, influence our perception of other influence our personal communication style and influence  how we present ourselves to others in the role we play.

Perception also plays an important role in forming impressions or others. Factors that are likely to influence our social perceptions are physical characteristics and social behaviors, stereotyping, and emotional states. Because research shows that the accuracy of people’s perceptions and judgments varies considerably, your communication will be most successful if you do not rely entirely on your impressions to determine how another person feels or what that person is really like. You will improve (or at least better understand) your perceptions of others if you take into account physical characteristics and social behaviors, stereotyping, and emotional states.

You can learn to improve perception if you actively question the accuracy of your perceptions, seek more information to verify perceptions, talk with the people about whom you a forming perceptions, realize that perceptions of people need to change over time, and check perceptions verbally before you react.

Perception of Others

Perception of Others

When two people meet, they form initial impressions of each other to guide their behavior. As Berger and Brad a (1982) explain, people engage in uncertainty reduction. Uncertainty reduction theory describes the process individuals use to monitor their social environment and to come to know more about themselves and others (Little john, 1999, p. 260). As people continue to interact, these perceptions will be reinforced, intensified, or changed. Just as with our self-perceptions, our social perceptions are not always accurate. The factors that are likely to influence our social perceptions of others include physical characteristics and social behaviors, stereotyping, and emotional states.

Physical Characteristics and Social Behaviors

Our first impressions are made on the basis of people’s physical characteristics,in this order race, gender age, appearance, facial expressions, eye contact, movement, personal space touch. These characteristics help us to categorize people as friendly, courageous, intelligent, cool, or their opposite (Greensward & Rowe, 1998, p. 29). Early impressions are also formed on the basis of a person’s social behaviors. For resistance, a person who is observed interrupting another may be perceived as “rude.” A child who- addresses adults as Mr or Ms may be perceived as well behaved.

Women and men differ int tributes they perceive in others. Scholar Leslie Horowitz (1990) says that men and boys are more likely to see and describe others in terms of their abilities f’She writes well), whereas women and girls are more likely to see and describe others in terms of their self concepts (She thinks she’s a good writer). In addition, Horowitz has found that males’ descriptions include more nonsocial activities (“She likes to fly model airplanes), whereas females include more interpersonal interactions (“He likes to get together with his friends).

Some judgments of other people are based on what are called implicit personality theories, which are assumptions people have developed about which physical characteristics and personality traits or behaviors are associated with one another (Kitchener & Declamatory, 1999, p. 106).

In reality, Martina may be a con artist who uses her warmth to lure people like Heather into a false sense of trust. This example demonstrates a positive halo (Heather assigned Martina positive characteristics), but we also use implicit personality theory to inaccurately impute bad characteristics. In fact, Holman (1972) found that negative information more strongly influences our impressions of others than does positive information. So we are more likely to negatively halo others than to positively halo them.

Halo effects seem to occur most frequently under one or more of three conditions (1) when the perceive is judging traits with which he or she has limited experience, (2) when the traits have strong moral overtones, and (3) when the perception is of a person that the perceive knows well.

Given limited amounts of information, then, we fill in details. This tendency to fill in details leads to a second factor that explains social perception, stereotyping.


Perhaps the most commonly known factor that influences our perception of others is stereotyping. Stereotypes are simplified and standardized conceptions about the characteristics or expected behavior of members of an identifiable group. These characteristics, taken as a whole, may be perceived as positive or
negative and may be accurate or inaccurate (Jurassic, McCartney, & Lee, 1995, p. 6), When we stereotype, we perceive a person as possessing certain characteristics because we identify that person as belonging to a certain group.

We, are likely to develop generalized perceptions about any group we come in contact with. Subsequently, any number of perceptual cues-skin color, style of dress, a religious medal, gray hair, sex, and so on can lead us to project our generalizations onto a specific individual.

Stereotyping contributes to perceptual inaccuracies by ignoring individual differences. For instance, if part of Dave’s stereotype of personal injury lawyers is that they are unethical, then he will use this stereotype when he meets Denise, a highly principled woman, who happens to be a successful personal injury lawyer. You
may be able to think, of instances when you have been the victim of a stereotype based on your gender, age, ethnic heritage, social class, physical characteristics, or  other qualities. If so you know how hurtful the use of stereotypes can be.

As these examples suggest, stereotyping can lead to prejudice and discrimination. According to Terkel and Du val (1999), prejudice is a preconceived judgment- a belief or opinion that a person holds without sufficient grounds (p. 217). Discrimination is treating members of one group differently from members of another in a way that is unfair or harmful. Thus, prejudice is evaluative and discrimination is behavioral (Weston, 1999, p. 790). For instance, when Laura discovers that Was if, a man she has just met, is a Muslim, she may stereotype him as a chauvinist. If she is a feminist, she may use this stereotype to prejudge him and assume that he will expect women to be subservient. Thus she holds a prejudice against him. If she acts on her prejudice-that is, if she discriminates against Was if she may abruptly end her conversation with him. So, without really having gotten to know Was if, Laura may decide that she does not like him. In this case, Was if may never get the chance to be known for who he really is Laura will have lost an opportunity to get to know someone from a different cultural background.

Stereotypes. prejudice, and discrimination, like self concept and self esteem, can be difficult to change. People are likely to maintain their stereotypes and prejudices and continue to discriminate against others even in the face of evidence that disproves their stereotypes.

Racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, ageism, able-ism, and other isms occur when a powerful group believes its members are superior to those of another group and that this superiority gives the powerful group the right to dominate or discriminate against the “inferior” group. Because isms can be deeply ingrained and subtle, it is easy to overlook behaviors we engage in that are racist or sexist. The behavior appears to be inconsequential, such as directing an African American student to the financial aid line at registration. It may appear unconscious, such as leaving more space between you and a blind person on a bus. Telling jokes, laughing at jokes, or encouraging repetition of jokes that demean women is sexist behavior. So is planning a meeting or flex time only for women employees.

Emotional States

A final factor that affects how accurately we perceive others is our emotional state at the time of the interaction. Based on the finding in his studies, Joseph For gas (1991) has concluded that there is a broad and pervasive tendency for people to perceive and interpret others in terms of their (own) feelings at the time. If, for example, you received the internship you had applied for, your .good mood-brought on by your good fortune is likely to spill over so , that you perceive other things and other people more positively than you might under different circumstances. If, however, you receive a low grade on a paper you thought was well written, your perceptions of people around you are likely to be colored by your disappointment or anger due to this grade.

Our emotions also cause us to engage in selective perceptions, ignoring inconsistent information. For instance, if Donna sees Nick as a man with whom she would like to develop  strong relationship, she will focus on the positive side of Nick’s personality and tend to overlook or ignore the negative side that is apparent to others.

Our emotions also may affect our attributions (For gas, 2000, p. 397). Attributions are reasons we give for others behavior. In addition to making judgments about people, we attempt to construct reasons about why people behave as they do. According to attribution theory, what we determine rightly or tingly to be the causes of others behavior has a direct impact on our perceptions of them. For instance, suppose a coworker with whom you had a noon luncheon appointment not arrived by 12:20. If you like and respect your coworker, you are likely to attribute his lateness to something external: an important phone call at the last minute, the need to finish a job before lunch, or some accident that may have occurred. If you are not particularly fond of your coworker, you are likely to attribute his lateness to something internal: forgetfulness, inconsiderateness, or malicious intent. In either case, your causal attribution further affects your perception of the person.

Like prejudices, causal attributions may be so strong that they resist contrary evidence. If you do not particularly care for the person, when he does arrive and explains that he had an emergency long-distance phone call, you are likely to disbelieve the reason or discount the urgency of the call. Being aware of the human tendency toward such cognitive biases can help you correct your perceptions and improve your communication.

In the final part of this chapter we for us on procedures that will enable us to improve our social perceptions of people regardless of their culture or gender.

Self Concept & Self Esteem and Communication

Self-Concept, Self-Esteem, and Communication

Just as our self-concept and self esteem affect how accurately we perceive ourselves, so too do they influence our communication by moderating competing internal messages in our self talk and fencing our personal communication style.

Self-perceptions moderate competing internal messages When we are faced with a decision, we may be especially conscious of the different and often competing “voices” in our head. Listen to the conversation Corey had upon returning from a job interview.

Self perception influences how we talk about ourselves with others If we feel good about ourselves, we are likely to communicate positively. For instance, people with a strong self concept and higher self-esteem usually take credit for their successes. Likewise, people with healthy self perceptions are inclined to defend their views even in the face of opposing arguments. If we feel bad about ourselves, we are likely to communicate negatively by downplaying accomplishments.

Why do some people put themselves down regardless of what they have done? People who have low self-esteem are likely to be unsure of the value of  their contributions and expect others to view them negatively. As a result, perhaps, people with a poor self concept or low self esteem find it less painful to put themselves down than to  the criticism of others. Thus, to preempt the’ likelihood that others will comment on their unworthiness, they do it first.

Cultural and Gender Differences

Culture influences perception and affect participants’ views of self. Most U.S citizens share what is called the “Western view of self.” This says that the individual is an independent entity with distinct abilities, traits, motives, and values and that these attributes cause behavior. Moreover, people with this Western view see the individual as the most basic social unit. In Western cultures a positive self concept and self esteem are built on the central values of independence from others and discovery and expression of individual uniqueness.

Yet people from other cultures use different values to build positive self concepts and self-esteem. In many Eastern cultures the family, not the individual, is the smallest social unit. These cultures neither assume nor value independence rather, interdependence among individuals is valued (Marks & Karnataka, 1991, p_ 19). An individual who is a self-reliant individualist in a Western culture would see these characteristics as strengths and would develop’ positive self-esteem. An individual in an Eastern culture who possessed these same characteristics would view these as shortcomings and would develop negative self-esteem.

In Western cultures children will come to value those personal characteristics that are associated with independence, developing high self esteem from them. In Eastern cultures, however, the child is seen as needing to be acculturated toward greater interdependence (Jordan, 1991, p. 137). These children will develop higher self esteem when they perceive themselves to be cooperative, helpful, and self effacing.

Similarly, men and women are socialized to view themselves differently and to value who they are based on whether their behavior corresponds to the behavior. Their exon their culture. If women are expected to be nurturing caregivers  attend to home and family then those women who perceive that they have the skill ,  abilities, knowledge, recompenses, and personality   needed for these jobs will have enriched and self-esteem. Due to be less confident of who they are and are likely to have lower self esteem.

Developing and Maintaining Self-Esteem

Developing and Maintaining Self-Esteem

You’ll recall that self-esteem is our overall evaluation of our competence and personal worthiness-it is our positive or negative evaluation of our self concept. ·Notice that self-esteem is not just feeling good about oneself but having reason to do so. Our evaluation of our personal worthiness is rooted in our values and develops overtime as a result of our experiences. As Murk (1999).points out, self-esteem is not just how well or poorly we do things (self-concept) but the importance or value we place on what we do well or poorly. For instance, as part of Fred’s self concept he believes he is physically strong. But if Fred doesn’t believe physical strength or other characteristics he possesses are worthwhile characteristics to have, then he will nor have high self esteem. Murk argues that it is both the perception of having a characteristic and personally the high self esteem.

Accuracy of Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

The accuracy of our self-concept and self-esteem depends on the accuracy of our own perceptions and how we process others’ perceptions of us. All of us experience success and failure, and all of us hear praise and criticism. If we are overly attentive to successful experiences and positive responses, our self concept may become overdeveloped and our self esteem inflated. If, however, we perceive and dwell on failures and give little value to our successes, or if we only remember the criticism we receive, our self-image may be underfunded and our self esteem low. In neither case does our self-concept or self-esteem accurately reflect who we are.

In congruence, the gap between our inaccurate self-perceptions and reality, is a problem because our perceptions of self are more likely to affect our behavior than are our true abilities (Whiten, 1998, p. 491). For example, Sean may actually possess all the skills, abilities, knowledge, competencies, and personality characteristics for effective leadership, but if he doesn’t perceive that he has these characteristics, he won’t step forward when leadership is needed. Unfortunately, individuals tend to reinforce their self perceptions by adjusting their behavior to conform with perceived self conceptions. That is, people with high self esteem tend to behave in ways that lead to more affirmation, whereas people with low self-esteem tend to act in whys that confirm the low esteem in which they hold themselves. The inaccuracy of the distorted picture of oneself is magnified through self-fulfilling prophecies and by filtering messages.

Self-fulfilling prophecies: Self-fulfilling prophecies-events that happen as the result of being foretold, expected, or talked about are likely to be either self created or other imposed.

Self-created prophecies are~those predictions you make about yourself. We often talk ourselves into success or failure. For example, Stefan sees himself as quite social and able to get to know people easily he says, I’m going to have fun at the party tonight. As a result·of his positive self-concept, he looks forward to encountering strangers and, just as he predicted, makes several new acquaintanceship and enjoys himself. In contrast, Arthur sees himself as unskilled in establishing new relationships he says, I doubt I’ll know hardly anyone-I’m going to have a miserable time. Because he fears encountering strangers, he feels awkward about introducing himself and, just as lie predicted, spends much of his time standing around alone thinking about when ‘he can leave.

Self-esteem has an important effect on the prophesies people make. For instance, people with positive self esteem view success positively and confidently prophesy that they can repeat successes; people with low self esteem tribute their successes to luck and so prophesy that they will not repeat them (Hattie, 1.992, p. 253).

The prophecies others make about you also affect your performance. For example, when teachers act  if their students are able, students expectation and succeed. Likewise, when teachers act as if students are not able, students may live down to these imposed prophecies. Thus, when we talk to ourselves or when we speak to others, we have the power to affect future behavior.

Filtering messages A second way that our self-perceptions can become increasingly distorted is through the way we filter what others say to us. Even though we may hear messages accurately (that is, our ears receive the messages and our brain records them), we do not perceive them equally. For example, suppose you prepare an agenda for your study group. Someone comments that you are a good organizer. You may not really hear it, ignore it, or reply,  Anyone could have done that-it was nothing special. If you do think you are a good organizer, however, you will pay attention to the compliment and may even reinforce it by responding with something like, Thanks, I’ve worked hard to learn to do this, but it was worth it. It comes in handy.

Presenting Ourselves

We also present our self image and self esteem to others through various roles we enact. A role is a pattern of learned behaviors people use to meet the perceived demands of a particular context. For instance, during the day you may enact the roles of student,brother or sister, and sales clerk.

Roles that we enact may result from our own needs, relationships that we form, cultural expectations that are held for us, the groups we choose to be part and from our own conscious decisions. For instance, if you were the oldest child in a large family, your parents may have cast you in the role of oldest brother that involved such functions as disciplinarian, brothers and sisters keeper, or housekeeper, depending on how they see family relationships. Or, if your peers look on you as a joker you may go along by enacting your role, laughing and telling funny stories even though you really feel hurt or imposed. Everyone enacts numerous roles each day, and we draw on different skills and attributes as we enact these roles. With each new situation we may test a role we know how to enact, or we may decide to try to enact a new role.

Perceptions of Self Concept and Self Esteem

Perceptions of Self: Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

Self-concept and self esteem are the two self perceptions that have the greatest impact On how we communicate. Self-concept is one’s self identity (Baron & Byre, 2000, p. 160). It is the idea or mental image that you have about your skills, your abilities, your knowledge, your competencies, and your personality. Self esteem is your overall evaluation of your competence and personal worthiness (based on Murk, 19, p. 26). In this section we present how we come to understand who we are and how we determine whether what we are is good. Then we examine what determines how well these self-perceptions match others perceptions of us and the self perceptions play when we communicate with others.

Forming and Maintaining a Self-Concept

How do we learn what our skill , liabilities, knowledge, competencies seasonality are? Our self concept come from  the unique interpreter about ourselves that we have made based on  our experience and from other responses to us.

Self-perception We form impressions about ourselves based on our own perceptions. Through our experiences, we develop our own sense of our skills, our abilities, our knowledge, our competencies, and our personality. For example, if receive that it is easy for you to strike up conversations with strangers and that you enjoy chatting with them, you may conclude that you are outgoing or friendly.

We place a great deal of emphasis on the first experience we have with a particular phenomenon. For instance, someone who is rejected in his first try at dating may perceive himself to be unattractive to the opposite sex, If additional experiences produce results similar to the first experience, the initial perception will be strengthened. Even if the first experience is not immediately repeated, it is likely to take more than one contradictory additional experience to change the original perception.

When we have positive experiences, we are likely to believe we possess the personal characteristics that we associate with that experience, and these characteristics become part of our picture of who we are. So if Sonya quickly debugs a computer program that Jackie has struggled with, she is more likely to incorporate
competent problem solver” into her self-concept. Her positive experience confirms that she has that skill, so it is reinforced as part of her self-concept.

Reactions and responses of others In addition to our self-perceptions, our self-concept is formed and maintained by how others react and respond to us. For example, if d~ring a brainstorming session at work, one of your coworkers tells you. You’re really a creative thinker, you may decide that this comment fits your image of who you are. Such comments are especially powerful in affecting your self perception if you respect the person making the comment. And the power o’f such comments is increased when the praise is immediate rather than delayed (Hattie, 1992, p. 251). We use other people’s comments as a check on our own self-descriptions. They serve to validate, reinforce, or alter our perception of who and what we are.

Some people have very rich self-concepts; they can describe numerous skills, abilities, knowledge, competencies, and personality characteristics that they possess. Others have weak self-concepts; they cannot describe the skills, abilities, knowledge, competencies, or the personality characteristics that they have. The richer our self-concept, the better we know and understand who we are and the better able we will be to cope with the challenges we will face as we interact with others.

Our self concept begins to form early in life, and information we receive from our families shapes our self concept (Demo, 1987). One of the major responsibilities that family members have is to talk and act in ways that will help develop accurate and strong self-concepts in other family members. For  example, the mom who says, “Roberto, your room looks very neat. You are very organized.” or the brother who comments, Kisha, lending Tomika five dollars really helped her out. You are very generous.” is helping Roberto or Kisha to recognize important parts of their personalities.

Unfortunately, in many families members damage each others self image and especially the developing self-concepts of children. Blaming, name calling, and repeatedly pointing out another’s shortcomings are particularly damaging. Where dad shouts, Terry, you are so stupid. If you had only stopped to think, this wouldn’t have happened,he is damaging Terry’s belief in his own intelligence; When big sister teases. Hey, Dumbo, how many times do I have to tell you, you’re too clumsy to be a ballet dancer, she is undermining her younger sister’s perception of her gracefulness.

Organization of Stimuli & Interpretation of Stimuli

Organization of Stimuli

Even though our attention and selection process limits the stimuli our brain must process, the absolute number of discrete stimuli we attend to at anyone moment is still substantial. Our brains use certain principles to arrange these stimuli to make sense out of them. Two of the most common principles we use are simplicity and pattern.

Simplicity If the stimuli we attend to are very complex, the brain simplifies the stimuli into some commonly recognized form. Based on a quick perusal of what someone is wearing, how she is standing, and the expression on her face, we may perceive her as a successful businesswoman,a flight attendant, or a soccer morn.Similarly, we simplify the verbal messages we receive. So, for example, Tony might walk out of his hour long performance review meeting with his boss in which the boss described four of Tony’s strengths and three areas for improvement and say o Jerry, his coworker. Well, I better shape up or I’m going to get fired.

Pattern A second principle the brain uses when organizing information is to find patterns. A pattern is a set of characteristics that differentiates some things from others used to group those items having the same characteristic. A pattern makes it easy to interpret stimuli. For example, when you see a crowd of people, instead of perceiving each individual human being, you may focus on the characteristic of sex and worn, or you may focus  see children, teens, adults, and seniors.

In our interactions with others we try to find patterns that will enable us to interpret and respond to behavior, For example , each time Jason ail’ Bill encounter Sara, she hurries over to them and begins an animated conversation. Yet when Jason is alone and runs into Sara, she barely says Hi. After a while Jason may detect a pattern to Sara’s behavior. She is warm and friendly when Bill is around and not so friendly when Bill is absent.

Interpretation of Stimuli

As the brain selects and organizes the information it receives from the senses, it also, interprets the information by assigning meaning to it. Look at these three sets of numbers. What do you make of them?

A. 631 7348

B. 285375632

c. 463273642596 2174

In each of these sets, your mind looked for clues to give meaning to the numbers. Because you use similar patterns of numbers every day, you probably interpret A as a telephone number. How about B? A likely interpretation is a Social Security number. And C? People who use credit cards may interpret this set as a credit card number.

In the remainder of this chapter we will apply this basic information about perception to the study of perceptions of self and others in our communication.

Perception of Self and Others

Perception of Self and Others 

Allie, I really blew it. I can’t believe it.

What do you mean, Sal?

Well, I just forget  everything i mean it was  like I was standing there for five minutes
saying nothing?

Sal, I saw you pause for a few seconds, really everything fit together well. You really had your speech well organized! It seemed to me that everyone in class thought you were in total control.

Come on, Allie, you’re just trying to make me fee,l good.

Trust me, Sal, if you had ;blown it, I’d let you know I’d be commiserating with you not telling you what a good job you did.

Whose view is correct? Sal’s or Allie’s? Of course, we don’t know-we didn’t hear the speech. But what we do know is that Sal and Allie perceived this event  very differently. Our perception affects not only how we see things bur how we talk about what we have seen.

In this chapter we consider some basic concepts of perception, how the perceptions we have about ourselves are formed and changed, how we perceive others, and how we can increase the accuracy of both our self-perception and our perceptions of others. As you will see, perception is a foundation piece in both our own communication and our evaluation of the communication of others.

The Perception Process

Perception is the process of selectively attending to information and assigning  meaning to it. Your brain selects the information it receives from your sense organs, organizes the information selected, and interprets and evaluates it.

Attention and Selection

Although we are subject to a constant barrage of sensory stimuli, we focus attention on relatively little of it. How we choose depends in part on our needs, interests, and expectations.

Needs We are likely to pay attention to information that sets our biological and psychological needs. When you go to class how well in rune you are to what is depend  the inform personal need?

Expectation Finally, we are likely to see what we expect to see and to ignore information that violates our expectations. Take a quick look at the phrases in the triangles.

If you have never seen these triangles, you probably read Paris in the springtime. Once in a lifetime, and Bird in the hand. But if you reexamine the words, you will see that what you perceived was not exactly what is written. Do you now see the repeated words? It is easy to miss the repeated word because we don’t expect to see the word repeated.