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Chapter 3 perception communication (pp)

Nov 30, 2014





  • 1. Perception
    • Perception is the process by which an organism attains awareness or understanding of its environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information.
  • (From Wikipedia)

2. Perception in Communication

  • In living our lives and communicating with each other our perception of reality is less important than reality itself.
  • Our perceptions are influence by:
    • physical elements- what information your eye or ear can actually take in, how your brain processes it.
    • environmental elements- what information is out there to receive, its context.
    • learned elements- culture, personality, habit: what filters we use to select what we take in and how we react to it.

3. Perception in Communication 4.

  • Colour blind people will not perceive "red" the way as other people do. Those with normal vision may physically see "red" similarly, but will interpret it culturally:
  • Red meaning "stop" or "anger" or "excitement" or "in debt" (US).
  • Red meaning "good fortune" (China).
  • Red meaning your school's colours.

5. 6. Selective Attention

  • The world deluges us with sensory information every second. Our mind produces interpretations and models and perceptions a mile a minute. To survive, we have to select what information we attend to and what we remember.

7. Information That Attracts Our Attention

  • Sends out strong physical stimulus: contrast, blinking, loudness, etc.
  • Elicits emotion -- TV dramas, memory aid: when taking notes on an article, write your emotional response to it.
  • Is unexpected? (This may draw your attention or conversely, you may miss it entirely with your mind filling in the missing pieces you expected to receive.).
  • Fits a pattern.
  • Previous knowledge that gives it context.


  • Interests you.
  • Connects to basic needs (belonging, sex, danger, hunger...).
  • Is useful.
  • Note how important your cultural filters will be in determining the answers to these questions--what hooks your emotions? What is "normal" and what is "unexpected", etc.


  • Some sample visual perception

10. Perception Process

  • Perception is a three phase process ofselecting ,organizingandinterpreting information , people, objects, events, situations and activities. You can understand interpersonal situations better if you appreciate how you and another person construct perceptions.


  • We select only certain things to notice, and then we organize and interpret what we have selectively noticed.
  • What we select to perceive affects how we organise and interpret the situation.
  • How we organise and interpret a situation affects our subsequent selections of what to perceive in the situation.


  • Who would you like to be your girlfriend ?

13. Selection

  • Notice what is going on around you. Is the room warm or cold? Messy or clean? Large or small? Light or dark? Can you smell anything?
  • Are sleepy, hungry comfortable?
  • We narrow our attention to what we defined as important in that moment.

14. Selection

  • We notice things thatSTAND OUT , and even change.
  • Hear a loud voice than a soft one.
  • We deliberately influence what we notice by indicating things to ourselves.
  • Smoking is a habit; Focus on burning smell of the match, the smoke, the nasty view of ashtrays with cigarette butts, how bad a room smells when you smoke in it.

15. Selection

  • What we select to notice also influenced by who we are and what is going on in us. Looking for a job.
  • Motives, thirsty people stranded on desert see an oasis.
  • Expectations, likely to perceive what we expect to perceive and what others have led us to perceive.

16. Organization

  • Once we selected what to notice, we must make sense of it.
  • Organize in meaningful ways.
  • Constructivism; we organize and interpret experience by applying cognitive structures called schemata.

17. Schemata

  • Prototypes; most representative example of a category. Defines categories by identifying ideal cases.
  • Ideal models for friendship, family, business group, or relationship.
  • Personal Construct; bipolar, mental yardstick we use to measure people and situation.
  • Intelligent unintelligent, kind unkind.

18. Schemata

  • Stereotype; predictive generalization about individuals and situations based on the category into which we place them.
  • May be accurate or inaccurate.
  • Scripts; guide to action in particular situation.
  • A sequence of activities that define what we and others are expected to do in specific situation.
  • Daily activities dating, talking to professors, dealing with clerks, interacting with co-workers

19. Schemata

  • Organize our thinking about people and situation.
  • Make sense of what we notice and figure out how to act.
  • Social perspectives and cultural views.

20. Interpretation

  • After selection and organizing our perception, what they mean is not clear.
  • Interpretation subjective process of explaining perceptions in ways that let us make sense of them.
  • Attribution; explanation of why things happen and why people act as they do.

21. Interpretation

  • In judging whether others can control their actions, we decide whether to hold them responsible for what they do.
  • We can be positive depending on how we explain what they do.
  • Self serving bias; bias favour to ourselves.
  • Inclined to make positive actions or negative actions. E.g passing and failing an exam.
  • Can distort our perception .

22. Influences on Perception

  • Everyone does not perceive situations and people in the same way.
  • Physiology; we differ in our sensory abilities and physiologies.
  • We tend to perceive more negatively when tired.
  • Medical conditions; drugs that affect our thinking.
  • Age; the older we are, the richer our perspective for perceiving life and people.
  • Culture; beliefs, values, understandings, and practices.

23. Influences on Perception

  • Social roles; the training we receive to fulfill a role and the actual demands of the role.
  • Editor thinks about layout, and design features.
  • Law graduates tend to be analytical, argumentative and logical.
  • Physicians are trained to observe physical symptoms.
  • Cognitive abilities; how elaborately we think about situations and people and our personal knowledge of others.
  • Self; how we perceive people reflects as much about us and our experiences as about those people.

24. Guidelines for Improving Perception and Communication

  • Recognize that all perceptions are partial and subjective.
  • Avoid mindreading one of the behaviours that contribute to conflict.
  • Check perceptions with others.
  • Distinguish between facts and inferences.
  • Guard against the self serving bias.