Judgements about other people

In this assignment I am going to look on what aspects of perception affect our observations and judgements about other people. Each individual have a similar nervous system and share more or less common sensory equipment. However people have different social and physical backgrounds, which give them different values, interests and expectations, and therefore different perceptions. Individuals do not behave in, and in response to, the world “as it really is” (Huczynski & Buchanan, 2001).People have different social and physical backgrounds, which give them different values, interests and expectations, and therefore different perceptions about individuals which can lead to misunderstanding people.

Perception is a mental process involving the selection, organisation, structuring and interpretation of information in order to make inferences and give meaning to the information (Rollinson, 2008). In organisations, people are mostly perceived and judgements are made about them.The individual’s perceptual world is a personal internal image of their social, physical and organisational environment. People process and understand the received unprocessed data from the insight into our past experiences, in terms of our current requirements and interests, in terms of our knowledge, expectations, values and motives. Perception is divided in three stages. First stage is attention and selection, second stage is stimulus organisation and recognition, and third stage is interpretation and inference.Every person sees things in his or her own way and as perceptions become a person’s reality this can lead to misinterpretation.

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Main features which can create complications and give rise to perceptual problems, bias or distortions, in dealing with other people are stereotyping, the halo effect, horns effect, perceptual defence, projection and logical error. Stereotyping could be seen as generalised beliefs about the characteristics, attributes, and behaviour that typically belong to certain groups (Hilton & Von Hippel, 1996).For example, it can be considered that a Scot is a mean or thrifty person, or all unemployed people are lazy. Subjective perception arises when individuals rely on stereotyped image and ignore all other information what it gets when perceives someone. It is said that “an attachment to stereotypes could lead to an overestimation of the differences between groups (Krueger, 1991).

” It can be influenced by factors like gender, race, beliefs, age etc. There is danger that it can block accurate perception of the individual.It means that people are not being able to see an objective image of person. Halo effect materialises when we perceive people in terms of the concepts of the good and bad; “good” people possess all the good qualities, whereas “bad” people possess all the bad qualities (McKenna, 2006).

The halo effect has a tendency to exclude other relevant characteristics of the person. For example, the interviewer will perceive a candidate’s good qualities if the applicant will arrive punctually for interview, will be smart dressed and with good manners.However, the interviewer then will not take much emphasis on the candidate’s qualifications or experience for the job. The problem with halo effect is that the perceiver may observe only those characteristics which support the original judgement about person. Halo effect also can work as a reverse process: this is referred to as the “horns effect”.

It has been suggested that “our overall attitudes towards others can to a large extent be determined by our evaluations of them a long three dimensions: activity (active versus passive); strength (strong versus weak); and evaluative (good versus bad).The third dimension is considered the most influential. ” (Osgood, Suci & Tannenbaum, 1957) This is where evaluation of other person is perceived from negative characteristic. For example, if the same candidate for a job will be arriving late for the interview, the interviewer will see him as a poor time-keeper and unreliable, even if the candidate would have a good excuse for being late.

Perceptual defence is the tendency to avoid or screen out certain stimuli that are perceptually disturbing or threatening (Mullins, 2007).People may tend to select information which is supportive of their point of view and choose not to accept opposing information. For example: A manager has decided to promote a member of staff against of advice of the colleagues may select only sympathetic information which supports the decision and ignore less favourable information which questions that decision. It means that people are inclined on what they want and they think is right.