What is perception, and what factors influence our perception?
Perception is the way we make sense of the world around us. Factors about ourselves, such as our “attitudes, personality, motives, interests, past experiences and expectations” (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 168) can influence our perceptions of what we experience. Specifics of the situation itself, as well as the object we’re observing, can also influence our perceptions.
An interaction with a co-worker will include intangible factors like those mentioned above, both for me and my co-worker. If I’m having a bad day, I may perceive any negative remarks my co-worker makes to be complaints directed at me, or a poor attitude on her part, when in reality that may not be at all what she intended to communicate.
Our environment can play a big role as well. A great example of this is the difference in communicating in person vs. over the phone vs. written communication such as this online class. Oral communication over the phone allows for voice inflection to be heard, but does not include non-verbal clues such as facial expressions or body language. We subconsciously use these as part of our communication, and just as subconsciously use these to form our perceptions about the other person. When tone of voice and/or facial expressions or body language is missing, the chances for misperceptions and miscommunication increase dramatically.
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