A number of factors operate to shape and sometimes distort perception. These factors can reside:
1) In the perceiver
2) In the object or target being perceived or
3) In the context of the situation in which the perception is made
1. Characteristics of the perceiver: Several characteristics of the perceiver can affect perception. When an individual looks at a target and attempts to interpret what he or she stands for, that interpretation is heavily influenced by personal characteristics of the individual perceiver. The major characteristics of the perceiver influencing perception are:
a) Attitudes: The perceiver’s attitudes affect perception. This attitude will doubtless affect his perceptions of the female candidates he interviews.
b) Moods: Moods can have a strong influence on the way we perceive someone. We think differently when we are happy than we do when we are depressed.
c) Motives: Unsatisfied needs or motives stimulate individuals and may exert a strong influence on their perceptions.
d) Self-Concept: Another factor that can affect social perception is the perceiver’s self-concept. An individual with a positive self-concept tends to notice positive attributes in another person.
e) Interest: The focus of our attention appears to be influenced by our interests. Because our individual interest differs considerably, what one person notices in a situation can differ from what others perceive.
f) Cognitive Structure: Cognitive Structure, an individual’s pattern of thinking, also affects perception. Some people have a tendency to perceive physical traits, such as height, weight, and appearances more readily.
g) Expectations: Finally, expectations can distort your perceptions in that you will see what you expect to see. The research findings of the study conducted by Sheldon S Zalkind and Timothy W Costello on some specific characteristics of the perceiver reveal
Knowing oneself makes it easier...