Chapter 3 Notes
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Lecture Notes ∙ Chapter Three ∙ Perception, Attribution and Judgment
Perception – process of interpreting messages of our senses to provide order and meaning to the
environment. Sort out and organize and try to make sense of complex and varied input of sight,
smell, touch, taste and hearing – or perhaps even our “sixth sense”.
Components of Perception:
•A perceiver whose experience, knowledge, skills, needs and emotions can influence
•The target that is being perceived – may be ambiguous or open to interpretation
•The situation or context
Perceptual defence – perceptual system defends us against unpleasant emotions so “we see what
we want to see”
Social Identity Theory
People tend to identify themselves in terms of social categories – eg. Student, Canadian. People
form perceptions of themselves based on their characteristics and memberships in social categories.
Personal Identity – based upon unique personal characteristics such as interests, abilities and traits
Social Identity – based upon our perception that we belong to various social groups – nationality,
Personal and social identity help us answer the question “Who am I?”
We do this to help us make sense of our environment.
Social identities will differ according to the context or situation
We also form perceptions of others based on their membership in social categories because social
identities are relational and comparative.
Our perception of others is a function of how we perceive our self relative to the other person and the
situation or context
People tend to perceive members of their own social categories in a more positive and favorable way
than those who are different
A Model of the Perceptual Process
See the text for a description and example of Bruner’s model of the perceptual process.
Bruner suggests that perception of the unfamiliar go like this:
1. unfamiliar target encountered
2. perceiver is open to new cues – actively seeks cues from target and situation
3. perceiver finds familiar cues which allow categorization and becomes less open and more
selective to additional new cues
4. target is categorized
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