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University of Toronto Scarborough
Management (MGH)

Chapter 3: Perception, Attribution, and Diversity P. 71-84 What is Perception? Perception: The process of interpreting the messages of our senses to provide order and meaning to the environment. People frequently base their actions on the interpretation of reality that their perceptual system provides, rather than on reality itself e.g., if you perceive your pay to be very low, you might seek employment in another firm. Components of Perception The Perceiver A perceivers past experiences lead himher to develop expectations, and these expectations affect current perceptions e.g., Caucasian men are less likely to perceive race or gender barriers than Caucasian women, non-Caucasian men, and non-Caucasian women. Our needs unconsciously influence our perceptions by causing us to perceive what we wish to perceive e.g., perceivers who have been deprived of food will tend to see more edible things in ambiguous pictures than will well-fed observers. Emotions can influence our perceptions e.g., misperceiving the innocent comment of a friend or acquaintance when we are angry. Perceptual Defence: The tendency for the perceptual system to defend the perceiver against unpleasant emotions. We see what we want to see or hear what we want to hear. The Target Ambiguous targets are especially susceptible to interpretation and addition of meaning to them because perceivers often have a need to resolve such ambiguities. Providing more information about the target may not improve perceptual accuracy e.g., assigning minority workers to a prejudiced manager may improve hisher perceptions of their true abilities. The Situation The situation can add information about the target e.g., if you were up for promotion, you are likely to perceive a casual critical comment about your performance from your boss very differently. Social Identity Theory Social Identity Theory: A theory that states that people form perceptions of themselves based on their characteristics and memberships in social categories. Our sense of self is composed of a personal identity and a social identity. o Personal identity: Our unique personal characteristics e.g., interests, abilities, and traits. o Social identity: Our perception that we belong to various social groups e.g., gender, nationality, and occupation.
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