“Perceptionis the process by which individuals select, organize, and interpret theirsensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment” (Chitale, Dubey, and Mohanty, 2012) However,perception and reality can be two entirely different things; people”s behaviouris based on their perception of what reality is, not on reality itself. “Theworld that is perceived is the world that is behaviourally important.” (Chitale, Dubey, and Mohanty, 2012)The term ‘perception’ originated froma Latin word ‘percepio’ meaning “receiving, collecting, action of takingpossession, apprehension with the mind or senses.” (Shergill, 2012) Thus, perceptionis the dynamic psychological process responsible for attending to, organizingsensory data. Effectively, the individual’s ability to observe the world comesthrough perception, which reveals the world to an individual through their fivesenses; touch, sight, smell and taste.
Some contend that perception ispurely subjective since the world around us is always perceived through ourlens. “Subjective perception is the manner in which an individual views thephysical world based on the workings of his own brain and sensory systems. Eachindividual has a brain, sensory systems, and cognitive structures that differfrom those possessed by everyone else.” (“What Is SubjectivePerception?”, 2017) “Sometimes our lenses are similar to those of others,but no lens in history has been the same as mine or yours because noone’s life experiences have been exactly the same.” (Kobayashi C., 2017) On the other hand, objectiveperception means “perceiving reality, all that confronts our awareness, as itis”.
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(“Objective Perception”, 2017) In this manner ofperception, things are seen as they are rather than from a particular point ofview or position matter seeing things as they are, rather than seeing them froma certain point of view orposition; “a statement is objective if it is neutral and not influenced byprejudices, feelings and interests.” (Rohrer, 2007) “We all live in our own world whichis our individual brain’s unique interpretation of the input it receives. There is no single, uniform reality that isconsistent among all of us.
Realitydepends on what actually happens (objective) and how our brains make sense ofwhat happens (subjective).” (Hampton, 2017) It is important to emphasise that bothsubjectivity and objectivity are necessary components of reality. Additionally,reality is a subjective concept exclusive to every individual, “while there aremany commonalities across all of our realities, it cannot be assumed thateverything is the same for all of us or even remotely close to it.” (Hampton,2017)I strongly agree that everyone isentitled to their own way of perceiving and describing the world. Everyoneshould be able to perceive their reality through their personality, pastexperiences, culture and present feelings. We are all unique individuals, withdistinguishing thoughts, thus, it is our duty to perceive the world from ourinimitable point of view. As described by Sharma & Mishra (2009) “everybodyhas their own way to perceive the reality, but the combination is different. Inno case, do two individuals have the same mapping.
They will absorb theexperiences in a unique and personal way. The pessimist will say. ‘Ah the glassis half empty’, while the optimist will say, ‘Oh the glass is half full’.
“”The written words, spoken words, andnonverbal language selected are paramount in ensuring the receiver interpretsthe message as intended by the sender” (Burnett & Dollar, 1989). Nevertheless,in any type of communication, there is always a chance that the intendedmeaning is lost in the communication process due to perceptual influences. Inthe process, humans receive stimuli from their environment, organize theinformation and then interpret the information, however perception may easily alterany of the steps of basic communication. We take in information through allfive of our senses, however, the world around us includes so many stimuli thatit is impossible for our brains to process and make sense of it all. So, asinformation comes in through our senses, various factors influence what isforwarded through the perception process (Fiske & Taylor, 1991). The perception process is “thesequence of psychological steps that a person uses to organize and interpretinformation from the outside world.
” (“Individual Perceptions andBehavior | Boundless Management”, 2017) The perception process consists offive stages, starting off with stimulation, followed by organisation of stimuli,then giving meaning, memorising and finally recalling. (DeVito, 2009) “The selection, organization, and interpretation of perceptions candiffer among different people. Therefore, when people react differently in asituation, part of their behavior can be explained by examining theirperceptual process, and how their perceptions are leading to their responses.” (“IndividualPerceptions and Behavior | Boundless Management”,”Several perceptual processesinfluence what you observe and what you fail to observe, what you infer or whatyou fail to infer about another person.” (“Your perception in yourinterpersonal communication”, 2012) Such processes enable an individual tosimplify and classify the widespread volumes of information surroundinghim/her, however, their perception might be very easily influenced. There aretwo related and prominent features of the process of human perception, the haloeffect and stereotyping. The halo effect is a cognitive bias in which one’sjudgments of a person’s character can be influenced by one’s overall impressionof him or her.
On the other hand, stereotyping is when an act of assumption,that might not be particularly true, is made over an individual or group ofpeople. In other words, stereotyping is a thought process that organizes beliefsabout one group of people and assigns them to everyone in that group. Other factors including the implicit personalitytheory, self-fulfilling theory, perception accentuation, primacy-recency aswell as consistency, have an additional influence on one’s perception of things.According to the implicit personality theory, “when we meet someone, we absorbthe most evident traits and then make general assumptions about that person’spersonality”. (“Implicit Personality Theory & the Halo Effect’s Impacton Forming Impressions | Study.com”, 2017) On the other hand, theself-fulfilling prophecy occurs when one makes a prediction that comes truebecause you act on it as if it were true.
For example, if one goes to a groupthinking that other members in that group will not accept him/her, the personmay end up feeling rejected because of his/her behaviour may provoke thegroup’s response and confirm the person’s belief. Furthermore, perceptualaccentuation leads individuals to see what they expect and want to see. Forexample, an alcoholic person may easily spot a bar at the corner of a crowdedstreet hidden among other shops. Additionally, the primacy-recency conceptreflects on the fact that there is a tendency to use early information to getgeneral idea about a person, and use later information to make this impressionmore specific. Finally, consistency is the tendency to maintain balance amongperceptions or attitudes. In simple terms, one may expect certain things to gotogether and other things not to go together. (“Your perception in yourinterpersonal communication”, 2012)One may followsome simple guidelines in order to make his/her perceptions more accurate.
One must be aware of their perception, comparetheir perceptions with those of others, reduce uncertainty and be culturallysensitive. The individual may also easy carry out a process of self-evaluationthrough a three-step process. First, one is to describe thebehaviour or situation without evaluating or judging it. Then, the individualmust think of some possible interpretations of the behaviour, being aware ofattributions and other influences on the perception process. Finally, he/shemust verify what happened and ask for clarification from the other person’sperspective, keeping in mind that the other person would have most likely perceivedthe event somewhat differently. (“Improving Perception | Communication inthe Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies”, 2017)Perceptionis the process by which people organize and obtain meaning from the sensorystimuli they receive from their environment. As discussed throughout, each individualperceives their own environment, in their unique manner, as influenced by theirdistinctive thoughts.
Additionally, various factors shape our perception of theworld around us, thus, it is important to be attentive as possible to avoidmisinterpretations and enhance accuracy in our understanding. It is extremelyimportant that society as a whole comes to the realisation that each individualperceives things differently, thus enhancing tolerance, broadening and perhapsaltering individual views and opinions, and most importantly avoiding conflict.