Monday, May 28, 2012

Target Characteristics and its influence on social preception

In the last blog, we looked at the characteristics of the perceiver which affect social perception. In today's blog we look at the characteristics of the target that affect the social perception.

Target typically refers to the person who is being perceived - even his characteristics influences the way we perceive him. Some of the major characteristics of the target that affect this perception are:
  • Physical Appearance
  • Verbal Communication
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Intentions

Physical Appearance: It is pretty common knowledge that an individual’s first impression about any other person is made by the dress he wears. This common knowledge is what this characteristics talks about - but this time it’s not just the clothing, it’s the height, weight, age... and many more. To really understand this, we only need to reflect and think of a situation where in we were able to identify a newcomer or a minority in the organization with ease!

Verbal Communication involves not just the topic of discussion, but also the volume, the tone, the accent etc - All these create a mental impression which affects our perception of the individual.

Non verbal communication includes the eye contact we make with people, the body movements postures etc - all these too create an impression in the perceivers mind. Again these would also be affected by the social context of the transaction.

The intentions of the target could also affect the way we interpret the target - the impressions made when we have a boss walking into the room indicates the affect of the intentions of the target has on our social perception!

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