“ We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
“ We see reality only as shadows on the rough wall of a cave.” Plato
What Is Perception, and Why Is It Important?
People’s behavior is based on their perception of what reality is, not on reality itself.
The world as it is perceived is the world that is behaviorally important.
Perception is the process of receiving information about and making sense of the world around us. It involves deciding which information to notice, how to categorise that information, and how to interpret it within the framework of our existing knowledge – shape opinions, decisions and actions.
It is a psychological, cognitive process by which people select, organise and interpret sensory stimuli into meaningful information about their environment – the manner in which a person experiences the world – a person’s view of reality.
Environmental stimuli – objects and stimuli in the immediate environment
Observation – taste, smell, hearing, sight, touch
Perceptual selection – It is the process of filtering information received by our senses - external factors – size, intensity, contrast, motion, repetition, novelty, familiarity, context Internal factors – personality, learning, motivation
1.Selection ; “speed read others – depends on interests, background, experience, attitudes, etc. People unconsciously focus on those aspects of the individuals, events, or situations that are consistent with, or reinforce, their preceding attitudes, moods, values, needs, or schemata (mental mages0, even as they screen out other, relevant information as inconsistent with their pre-held beliefs.
Mental models – To achieve our goals with some degree of predictability and sanity, we need road maps of the environments in which we live. These road maps are called mental models – internal representations of external world.
Figure ground - faces-vase of Rubin 5 –
Ambiguity – Necker’s cube 5 –
Ambiguity – open book 5 –
Muller Lyer Illusion 5 –
2 . Organisation - Cognitive process– Gestalt process ( Gestalt is also known as the "Law of Simplicity" or the "Law of Pragnanz) - Gestalt - "essence or shape of an entity's complete form")– grouping, closure, simplification
> grouping – similarity or proximity
> cognitive closure – filling in missing information
> Simplification – saliency (prominence) – tendency to see patterns in random events.
People make sense of information even before they become aware of it – called categorical thinking – organising people and objects into preconceived categories that are stored in our long term memory
Principle of cl;osure 5 –
How many rectangles? 5 –
Principle of learning
Ja ckan dji llwen tu pth eh ill
grouping 5 –
Contrast principle 5 – The two orange circles are exactly the same size; however, the one on the left seems smaller.
Jastrow illusion 5 – The two figures are identical
3. Interpretation – subjective and judgmental - self concept
a. Halo effect – a perceptual distortion shortcuts (Halo error or Horns or rusty halo error)
- when the traits are unclear in behavioral expressions
- when traits are not frequently used by the perceiver
- when traits have moral implications
If there is one important ‘rotten’ attitude, it can spoil a ‘barrel’ of attitudes – a dominant feature of a person overwhelms the observer’s overall impression of the person being observed. The overall impression is skewed by a single characteristic of the person or situation.
b. Stereotyping –
c. Attribution – the way people come to understand the causes of their own and others’ behaviors.
i. identical behaviour differently
ii. Causal explanation – own behaviour to situations and others’ behaviour to personal dispositions
internal behaviour to external causes
others’ behaviour to internal causes Fundamental attribution error – self serving bias
f. Projection – individuals’ attribution of their own feelings, attitudes and perception to others. Individuals can project their fears, hatreds, anxieties, and resentments onto others whom they view as less powerful - scapegoating
g. Perceptual set – an expectation of a particular interpretation based on past experience with the same or similar set . (old woman/young woman). Managers are influenced by their functional specialisations , or back grounds.
> Needs, values, past experiences
Muller- Lyer illusion
Factors That Influence Perception 5 –
If you expect policemen to be authoritative, young people to be unambitious, or individuals holding public offices to be unscrupulous, you perceive them as such regardless of their actual traits.
Motivation influences perception – the Pollyana principle – ’people process pleasant events more efficiently then they do unpleasant events.’
Perception begins with the perceiver – old adage; “ When Peter talks about Paul, he is also talking about Peter.”
- Weak individuals find fault in others
- secure individuals perceive others as warm
- thoughtful individuals do not expose by expressing extreme judgments of others
- persons who accept themselves perceive things favorably
- self accepting individuals perceive themselves as liked, wanted and accepted by others.
- values and attitudes - perceptual defence – screening out of information that threaten our values and beliefs. – protects our self esteem.
Loud people are more likely to be noticed in a group than quiet ones, so too are extremely attractive or unattractive individuals – relationship to background – tendency to group close things and similar things together – salience- intensity – contrast – status – Self-fulfilling prophecies (SFP) – also called the “Pygmalion effect”. – the tendency to create or find in another situation or individual that which one expected to find
Sometimes novelty cannot be effective unless care is taken e.g., in translating;
E.g., Schweppe’s Tonic Water was translated as ‘Il Water’ in Italian meaning water in the bath tub.
- Pepsi’s ‘Come alive’ in German meant, ‘come out of the grave’.
- In Asia it meant, ‘bring your ancestors back from the grave.’
- advertisement for a cereal manufactured in US, ran a picture of a freckled , red-haired, crew-cut, grinning kid saying, “See kids, it’s great!”. The company failed in Britain which is not a child-centred society.
Time, location, light, heat, or any number of situational factors
Constancy – stability in a changing environment, continuity
Context – Doodles
Defence ; denial, modification of data, refusal to change, change in perception e.g., transferred emotion – a psychological process in whichour emotions screen out large blocks of information that threaten our values and beliefs.
Perceptual process is an interesting combination of our self-perceptions and perceptions of others – how perceive the world depends on how we define ourselves – this connection between self-perception and the perception of others is explained through social identity theory – people maintain a social identity by defining themselves in terms of the groups to which they belong and have an emotional attachment.
i. Temporal extension
ii. Categorisation – stereotypes
iii. Parataxis - the placing together of sentences, clauses, or phrases without a conjunctive word or words, as Hurry up, it is getting late! I came—I saw—I conquered.
iv. Functional inference
v. Metaphorical generalisation
Person Perception: Making Judgments About Others 5 –
Attributions are inferred causes; that is, the cause-and-effects assigned to observed behaviour – inferred causes
Determination depends on
Distinctiveness: shows different behaviors in different situations.
Consensus: response is the same as others to same situation.
Consistency: responds in the same way over time.
Primacy effect – first impressions – implicit personality theories about the relationships among physical characteristics, personality traits and specific behaviour, e.g., voice quality.
First impressions are lasting impressions – difficult to change
> Recency effect –the most recent information dominates our perception of others.
Internally caused behaviours are those that are believed to be under the personal control of the individual.
Externally caused behaviour is seen as having been forced into the behaviour by the situation.
Attribution Theory E X H I B I T 5-2 5 –
Errors and Biases in Attributions 5 –
Fundamental attribution error occurs when there is limited information about the situational factors affecting other people. The person performing the behaviour is more sensitive to situational influences- can lead to disagreement over the degree to which employees should be held responsible for their poor performance or absenteeism.
behaviour towards subordinatess
satisfaction from work,
Errors and Biases in Attributions (cont’d) 5 –
Frequently Used Shortcuts in Judging Others 5 –
People unconsciously focus on aspects of individuals, events or situations that are consistent with, or reinforce, their preexisting attitudes, moods, values , needs, or schemata as they screen out other, relevant information as inconsistent with the preheld beliefs.
Frequently Used Shortcuts in Judging Others 5 –
5 – The Poggendorff Illusion is an optical illusion that involves the brain's perception of the interaction between diagonal lines and horizontal and vertical edges. In the picture, a straight black and red line is obscured by a grey rectangle. The blue line, rather than the red line, appears to be a continuation of the black one, which is clearly shown not to be the case on the second picture.
Poggendorff Illusion 5 –
5 – To this day, it is not known why this illusion happens. There are many theories about why this simple geometrical illusion occurs, but none proposed gives a satisfactory account for all the conditions under which it diminishes or appears. It could be that the human visual system is extremely poor at interpreting the path of diagonal lines, although it is not understood why. A potential theory is that the technical 2D shape of the "line" and the angle have some kind of special relationship that causes our brain to be fooled.
Frequently Used Shortcuts in Judging Others 5 –
Individuals, attribution of their own feelings, attitudes or perceptions to other people – , as defence mechanisms, are often emotional and can be applied to others in positive or negative ways – individuals can project their fears, hatreds, anxieties and resentment onto others whom they view as less powerful – scapegoating -
Derived from the typographer’s word for a printing plate made from previously composed type. In 1972, Walter Lippman applied it to perceptual errors- blanket perception.
“ Making positive or negative generalisations about a group or category of people, usually based on inaccurate assumptions and beliefs and applying these generalisations to an individual member of the group.”
It is an extension of social identity – tendency to make positive or negative generalisations about a group and applying them to an individual – may be useful when an initial structure must be constructed and when the amount of incoming data must be reduced to make sense of the information. It will be dysfunctional when it affects working relationships, team cohesiveness, and productivity – can be barriers to seeing, communicating and acting effectively when based on erroneous or hurtful information – often applied to cultural groups, age, gender, social class, and regional origins.
- Sales people are more outgoing and aggressive
- Accountants are quiet and introspective
- Married people are stable employees.
- managers do not give a damn about their people
- union people expect something for nothing.
- All old workers are less skilled in computer technology
- All Arabs support Muslim fundamentalism
- All Asians are good in Mathematics
- All Afro-Americans are athletic
- Women are more nurturing than men .
- An Accountant is single-mindedly preoccupied with precision and form, methodical and conservative, and a boring and joyless character.
Individuals are grouped on the basis of race, gender, education, region, occupation, etc.,
Inferences are made that all members of the group have the same characteristics
Expectations on these generalisations are made to interpret the behaviour of individual members of the groups
We maintain the stereotypes by exaggerating the frequency of stereotypic behaviours the others show, inaccurately explaining the behaviours and separating them from our own.
The 3 more common types of stereotype are on the basis of race, age and sex roles.
Stereotyping can present barriers to seeing, communicating, and acting effectively, when they are based on erroneous or hurtful misinformation.- Generally have some inaccuracies, some overestimation or underestimation of real differences, and some degree of accuracy. However, stereotypes are never as accurate as our personal knowledge of an individual.
Problems with stereotyping
i. Stereotyped traits do not accurately describe every person in that social category.
ii. We often ignore or misinterpret information that is inconsistent with the stereotype.
iii. Stereotypes are notoriously easy to confirm because they include abstract personality traits that are supported by ambiguous behavi0ours.
iv. We develop inaccurate stereotypes of groups that enhance our own social identity. – less favorable images of other groups, which involves subconsciously assigning inaccurate traits to people in those different groups.
In spite of all these, stereotyping is a natural process to economise mental effort. – fills in missing information, when we lack the opportunity or motivation to know others directly.
Ethical problems with stereotyping
i. Prejudice; unfounded negative emotions toward people belonging to a stereotyped group.
ii. Hurts the performance evaluations and employment prospects of older workers .
Self fulfilling prophecies –(Pygmalion effect )
Results of expectations that people will behave in certain ways regardless of whether or not they actually do. The way I interact with you elicits and develops the behaviours I expected from you. Our perception can influence reality.
Steps in the SFP process:
i. Expectations formed
ii. Behaviour toward the employee
iii. Effects on the employee – better training, greater self efficacy’
iv. Employee behaviour and performance.
How to develop positive self fulfilling prophecies
> Leaders should develop a learning orientation – appreciate the value of employee’s learning, not just accomplishing tasks – accept reasonable mistakes as a natural part of learning.
> Leaders should apply appropriate leadership behaviours to all employees – practise the contingency approach – provide frequent, objective feedback and creating a positive relationship by showing support.
Teach leaders how to improve employees’ self-efficacy – through behaviour modeling (having the employee watching someone similar perform the task well and giving them the opportunity to practise the task successfully – convincing doubtful employees using persuasive communication principles
Projection bias – other people have the same beliefs and behaviours that we have
Tendency of people to protect themselves against ideas, objects, or situations that are threatening – a well known folk song suggests that people “hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest.”