Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stereotype and First Impression Errors - how do these affect social perception

In the last blog, we looked at selective perception and projection which affect social perception. In today's blog, we look at stereotype and first-impression errors that affect the social perception.

When work teams in the current setting of companies are multicultural in nature, we quite often find members often stereotype foreign coworkers rather than getting to know them before forming and impression. Team members in the case of co-workers from the lesser economically developed countries have been found to assume to be having less knowledge simply because their homeland is economically or technically not progressive as the developed country. Such stereotypes are found to be reducing the productivity of the team overall and also reducing the morale of individuals.

Stereotype is a generalization about a group of people - it reduces the information about others to a workable level and is found be efficient for compiling and using information. They tend to get stronger when they are shared and are validated by others. These stereotypes could be accurate, however what is important is to realize that these could be wrong and be willing to learn from scratch.

We have also heard a common saying - the first impression is a lasting one; this is also quite true - we tend to remember the first perception of a person, and are generally found to be reluctant to be changing these. The First impression errors occur when we observe a very brief bit of a person's behavior in our first encounter and infer that this behavior reflects what the person is really like. This could be a major source of errors while interviewing - one would need to be cautious about this.

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