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'Use of language often influences the perceptions we form of other people'.

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Introduction

INFLUENCES ON PERECEPTION 'Use of language often influences the perceptions we form of other people'. At some point in our lives, every single one of us has stereotyped an individual or a group of people before we have even met them, be it a negative or positive perception. Then after communicating with them we find ourselves asking 'how the hell did I ever assume they would act in that way?' Often they don't act in a way that is a good fit with our original perception Even when we communicate with a person, we are often too busy analysing their dialect, social class ethnicity etc. to even notice the message they are actually trying to put across to us. Before we get to know a person, we can usually actually see their age, ethnicity, gender (hopefully) and sometimes their social class (unfortunately). When we consider someone's age we usually assume that the younger they are, the more energetic they are. We also assume that an older person is wiser and more conservative than a younger person. ...read more.

Middle

The theories of how we respond to people that we have perceptions of, does not take into account our individual differences. Our culture can also play a huge part in the way we perceive other people from different ethnic backgrounds. The white culture is very much bias towards our colour for example black sheep is used metaphorically to describe someone who does no good whilst a white wedding is a symbol of chastity and culture. The fact that the white culture keeps reinforcing the same meaning with these signs proves to us that this culture unconsciously perceives other ethnicities in a negative way. Fortunately these signs are not automatically translated into these negative meanings by the youth of today. These signs are not meant to be racist in the present day, but were geared to be positive towards the white culture in the past. Other cultures have similar sayings or beliefs. For instance, in China, white is a sign of bad luck and in some Indian tribes white can mean death. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whether its age, ethnicity, gender or social class that is influencing our perception of people, we are still making assumptions of them. We do this consciously and subconsciously but perhaps more consciously if it is someone completely different from us. However we have to ask ourselves are these assumptions a bad 'idea'? If we did not have preconceived ideas of people perhaps we would be more forthcoming and less conservative in interaction causing more friction between different types of people. If the use of language influences our perception to such an extent that we change the way we speak (hypercorrection) and act, then perhaps we do this more than we think. Perhaps we are constantly changing ourselves to fit in with those around us and have no real social group where everyone is the same as us (using the same registered code). Perhaps we are only our real selves when we are alone as we cannot form perceptions of those around us, so we cannot be influenced by them. ********************* Michael Akers AS Communications 24 April 2003 Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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