Person's Perception

Perception refers to a very complex cognitive process. It is simply a process by which individual organizes and interprets their sensory impression in order to give meaning to environment. Person perception refers to the process by which an individual attribute characteristics or traits to other people. It is concerned with making judgment about other. It relates how an individual perceives other individual. The perception and judgment of a person's actions are significantly influenced by the assumption made about that person's internal state that can be beliefs, motivates, emotions, attitudes etc.

Person's perception is concerned with making judgment about other. It is about how one individual perceives other individuals. The best tool used for explanations of person's perception is Kelly's Attribution Theory. It refers to the act of attributing characteristics or traits to other people. Following are the some principles of perceptions:
  • Observations
  • Organizing
  • Interpretation
  • Response
  • Selection
Person's perception can be further explained by attribution theory and frequently used shortcuts.

1. Attribution Theory

The attribution process is a perceptual process where by we interpret the causes of behavior in terms of the persons (internal attributions) or the situation (external attribution). It can be based on:
  • Distinctiveness: It refers whether an individual displays different behavior in different situations.
  • Consensus: It refers to whether everyone faced with similar situation responds in the same way.
  • Consistency: Responding the same way over time.

2. Short Cuts for perception (Perpetual Errors)

The shortcuts for the perception arises due to various reasons in an individual stated as follows:
  • Selective perception: It refers to an individual tendency to see what they want to see. Every individual interpret the object or event in the way they see on the basis of their interest, attitudes, experiences and expectations.
  • Halo effect: It refers to the process of drawing a general impression about an individual based on single characteristics such as intelligence, appearance etc.
  • Contrast effect: It is judging a person on the basis of comparison with other (either superior or junior) recently encountered.
  • Projection: It is judging the people with an assumption that they are similar to us.
  • Stereotyping: It is judging people on the basis of one's perception of the group (i.e. gender, age, race, ethnicity) to which that person belongs to.

Factors Distorting Person's Perception
A number of factor influence perception. They are:

A. The perceiver: When an individual look at a target situation, at that time his/her behavior is carefully watched. Suppose if football game is directly broadcasted from TV, he will perceive it and show his behavior suppose if cricket is being broadcasted from TV, he will not perceive that. Similarly, people's motivation, expectation and experience also affects in his perception. 
  1. Attitude: Attitude influence perception as it has influence upon what attention are desired and how the information are interpreted.
  2. Motives and emotions: The unsatisfied need and intense feeling directed to an event or object influences perception.
  3. Interest: The difference in individual interest results in different perception.
  4. Experiences: Past experiences narrows the forces of attention and influence perception.
  5. Expectation: The expectation to see what an individual desires for may distort perception.

B. The target: The features of target determine by situation whether it is to be perceived or not. As for e.g. in a group loud people are noticeable. The major factors of target are sound, size, motion and background etc.
  1. Novelty: The novel targets are noticed more compared to target observed in the past.
  2. Motion, sound, size: They shape the way we see the target and influence perception.
  3. Background: The background of a target influences perception as any target is not viewed in isolation.
C. The situations: Sometimes situation makes people perceive anything. As for example suppose, I saw a young good-looking girl age of 25 years in a cinema hall. I may notice her. But if I saw same girl at my class, I also perceive her. Here main theme is perceiver and target both are same but the situation is different.
  1. Time: The time at which the events and objects are looked at affects and influence perception. For example, an arrival of a singer after the concert is over is ignored by perceiver.
  2. Work setting: The changing condition of work setting influences perception. For example, challenging and stress works distorts perception.
  3. Social setting: The changing social setting influences perception. For example, a drunk person may not be noticeable in restaurants but will be highly noticeable in the market.
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