Thursday, May 24, 2012

Characteristics of Perceiver that affect social preception

In the last blog, we looked at the model of social perception. In today's blog we look at the characteristic of a perceiver and how it can affect social perception.

There are several factors of the perceiver which affect social perception, but for discussion sake in this blog we would limit ourselves to understanding the influence of the following characteristics:
  • Familiarity
  • Attitude
  • Mood
  • Self-Concept
  • Cognitive Structure

Familiarity with the target is when we have multiple observations of the target. These observations help us form an impression about the individual. When we get any new information about the individual, we tend to screen out the information which is inconsistent with what we believe the person is like.

Attitude forms another major influence on our social perception - say for example, we have a department in an organization where we find only men working in there and mentally we have formed an attitude. This attitude would begin influencing us when we are taking an interview!

Mood plays a very strong influence on the way we perceive someone - we think very differently when we are happy from when we are upset. When we are in a positive mood, we tend to make a positive opinion of the people we meet!

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 and a similar aspect for the person with negative self-concept. A greater understanding of self allows us to have more accurate perception of others.

Cognitive structure refers to the thought pattern of an individual. Some of us tend to perceive physical traits before other traits, while others tend to focus on central traits. Cognitive complexity allows a person to perceive multiple characteristics of another personal rather than attending to a few traits.

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