Social Perception – perceiving and understanding others - Analysis


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Social Perception – perceiving and understanding others - Analysis

  1. 1. Submitted To: Ma’am Irum Abbasi Submitted By: Hina Anjum Submitted On: Sept. 27, 2012 CHAPTER 3 2012 SOCIAL PERCEPTION Perceiving and Understanding Others ANALYSIS ( F A C U L T Y O F S O C I A L S C I E N C E S - D E P A R T M E N T O F M E D I A & C O M M U N I C A T I O N S T U D I E S )
  2. 2. Social Perception – Perceiving and Understanding Others September 27, 2012 A Formal Analysis of Social Perception The focus of the present chapter is to understand the basic channels of nonverbal communication, theories of attribution, impression formation, first impressions and impression management. Social perception involves the processes through which we seek to know and understand other people. It plays a key role in social behavior and social thought. Social perception is indeed a complex and tricky business. We spend a lot of times thinking about others, we try to understand them, sometimes we are good at understanding others but other times we don’t understand them as well as we would prefer. To understand others’ emotional states, we often rely on nonverbal communication—valuable information about others’ current feelings and reactions provided by their facial expressions, eye contact, body movements and postures. Social perception is a central aspect of our existence as social beings. We want to know other people; we want to know that what they are thinking or how they feel about us. Social perception allows people to determine how others affect their personal lives. If we pay careful attention to certain nonverbal cues, we can recognize efforts at deception by others, even if these people are from a culture other than our own. Research conducted by social psychologists shows that women are better than men at both sending and interpreting nonverbal cues and also better at remembering details of others’ appearance. To obtain information about others’ lasting traits, motives, intentions, dispositions, we often engage in attribution, which is a process through which we seek to identify the causes of others’ behavior and which are efforts to understand why have people have acted as they have. When we think more concretely about the events in our lives we tend to perceive fate as less important. Regardless of mode of thought, we tend to perceive our own actions as an important factor in our experience. (Source: Burrus and Roese, 2006). Attribution has been applied to many practical problems such as to understand the causes of depression and to treat this important form of mental disorder. It is in human nature to create a good impression on others. Most people are concerned with making good first impressions on others because they believe that these impressions will exert lasting effects. Asch’s classic research on impression formation indicated that impressions of others involve more than simple summaries of their traits. To make a good impression on others, individuals often engage in impression management. Different techniques are used for this purpose, but most people fall under two major headings: self-enhancement—efforts to boost one’s appeal to others, and other-enhancement—efforts to induce positive moods or reactions in others. Impression management is something we practice throughout life. It is important to make a good first impression on others when we care about their evaluations of us. Speed dating
  3. 3. allows single people to form first impressions of many potential romantic partners in a single evening. Social perception is a key component of social skills and social interaction. The process of inferring what others are thinking and feeling is an important piece of social interaction. ‘First impression is the last impression’, this statement is quite true to some extent but on other hand impression is not constant it keeps on changing with time as the person itself also changes with time. At the end of analysis of this chapter we reach at a point that perceptions about others might not always be true but if we observe others’ behavior more carefully and try to understand them then we can interpret nonverbal cues and nonverbal communication in a better way.