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This essay will attempt to give an accurate explanation of what perception actually is.

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This essay will attempt to give an accurate explanation of what perception actually is. It will look at the process of perception and how the process of stimulus, attention (selective perception), organisation, interpretation and judgments of other people. The essay will also explore how we make justified or unjustified inferences about others based on our perceptions. In everyday life, complicated social relationships are developed between human beings. This process of developing new relationships begins from the day we are born and continues throughout our lives. As a result of this process we learn how to behave in certain social situation. Through time we become conscious of ourselves enabling us to judge the outcome of our appearance and behaviour on others. Social psychology is an area of study which explores how people behave in groups, institutions and society as a whole. It also attempts to explain and predict human behaviour in terms of their relationships. Through substantial research into forming impressions of other people and attribution in the 1950's, 60's and 70's by social psychologists, social perception developed greatly. Like physical perception, social perception is an active process. Perception is all about how we receive information from our senses about ourselves and other people we then interpret this information based on our previous experiences and knowledge, to make sense of a social situation we may be in. ...read more.


Experience of the familiar within the familiar or the unfamiliar within the unfamiliar attracts our attention. For example, a new student within an established class is likely to attract our attention. Once we have selected a certain stimuli we then begin to organise the information given to us through the stimuli. It is suggested by gestalt psychologists that we automatically group stimuli together into objects or sounds. Proximity and similarity are other factors which influence how we organise stimuli given to us. After the organisation process is completed we then begin to interpret the stimuli using our cognitive processes, we then draw on conclusions based on previous experience or knowledge this is known as the inference model. First impressions of someone are more often wrong than right this is because our perception of a certain person is based on very little information. Information about that person given to us last will have the biggest influence in our overall perception of that person. In 1946 Solomon Asch came up with the idea that certain characteristics that people may posses can have greater influence on our overall impression of that person than other information. Asch carried out a study to discover wither his theory was correct. ...read more.


When forming impressions of others we look into why they behave as they do as well as judging them on their appearance and behaviour. We make judgements on others based on their actions and motives, this process is called attribution. Stereotyping also plays a major part in how we perceive others. They are snap judgments of certain groups and they are over generalised. For example, some people perceive all single mothers to be living in council houses, living off the social and basically having a very low standard of living. This assumption may be true in some cases but not all. To conclude, there are many processes involved in social perception and there are many factors which can distort our perception. The main weakness that could be said about social perception is that it is not scientific, perception can not be measured therefore it does no not provide us with solid evidence. However the study carried out by Asch did provide us with some good evidence. It proved that people's characteristics do have some sort of influence over how we perceive that person as a whole. Although psychologists have considerably enhanced our understanding of perception, due to human influence we do not seem to be getting any closer to understanding the complicated dynamics of every perceptual process. Lynn Brown Perception L01 1 ...read more.

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