CHAPTER 3- PERCEPTION, ATTRIBUTION, AND DIVERSITY
What Is Perceptio n?
•Def : The process of interpreting the messages of our senses to provide order &
meaning to the environment.
•People base their actions on the interpretation of reality that their perceptual
system provides, rather than on reality itself.
•Perception has three components:
•Experience-> past experience lead the perceiver to develop
expectations and thus affect current perceptions
•Emotional State -> perceptual defence: tendency for the
perceptual system to defend the perceiver against unpleasant
emotions ( “see what we want to see” or “hear what we want to
–Target -> providing more info about the target doesn't necessarily will
improve perceptual accuracy
–Situational context in which perception is occurring add info about the
•Each component influences perceiver’s impression or interpretation of target.
Social Identity Theory
•A theory that states that ppl form perceptions of themselves based on their
characteristics (personal identity interest, abilities, and traits) and
memberships in social categories (social identity gender, nationality, religion,
occupation, etc. )
•Our perception of others is a function of how you categorize ourselves (eg. Student)
and our target (eg. Professor). If the situation changes, so might the categorization
and relation btwn the perceiver and the target (ex. in hostpital, medical students
might be perceives as doctors by nurses and paitents, but in the classroom, they
are likely to be perceived as medical students by their profs)
Bruner’s Model of the Perceptual Process: An Example
Demonstrated Characteristics of the Perceptual Process
•Perception is selective:
oPerceivers do not use all of the available cues, and those they use are given
oThe tendency for the target to be perceived in the same way over time and
oThe tendency to select, ignore, and distort cues so that they fit together to
form a homogenous image of the target.
–The tendency for a perceiver to rely on first impressions; has a lasting
impact; a form of selectivity, and its lasting effects illustrate the operation of
–The tendency to rely on recent cues or last impressions.
–Reliance on personal characteristics of the target that are of interest to the
–Common trait: phsycial appearance (attractive ppl employment potential,
being chosen as business partner, given good performance evaluation ,
promoted ; taller and more attractive ppl paid more)
•Implicit Personality Theories
–Theories people have about which personality traits go together.
–Eg. Hardworking ppl will be honest; ppl of average intelligence be most
–Attribution of one’s own thoughts & feelings to the target.
–An efficient and sensible perceptual strategy but also lead to perceptual
difficulties (ex. honest warehouse manager who perceives others as honest
might find stock disappearing)
–Serive as a form of perceptual defence under threatening or undesired
characteristics (ex. dishonest worker might say “sure, I steal fromt eh
company, but so does everyone else.)
–Tendency to generalize about people in a social category & ignore variations
among them. (eg. Race,age, gender, ethnic background, social class and
–3 specific aspects to stereotyping