Last Updated 16 May 2021

Perception, Attribution, Diversity

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Perception – the process of interpreting the messages of our senses to provide order and meaning to the environment people base their actions on the interpretation of reality that their perceptual system provides rather than on reality itself.

Components of Perception

Their experience, needs and emotions can affect his or her perceptions of a target. Most important characteristic is experience. Past experiences lead the perceiver to develop expectations and those affect current perceptions. Our needs unconsciously affect our perceptions by causing us to perceive what we wish to perceive. Perceptual defence – The tendency for the perceptual system to defend the perceiver against unpleasant emotions The target

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Perception involves interpretation and adding meaning to the target. Ambig targets are especially susceptible to interpretation and addition. Every instance on perception occurs in some situational context and this context affects what one perceives. Most important effect is that it adds information about the target. Perceiver and target may remain the same but the perception of the target will change depending on the situation

Social Identity Theory

People form perceptions of themselves based on personal characteristics and memberships in social categories – basically composed of a personal identity and a social identity Personality identity –traits, unique personal characteristics Social identity – social groups like gender, nationality, religion People tend to perceive members from their own social category more positively than if they from another social category.

Perception is selective. We do not use all the available cues and those that are used are give special emphasis Our perception works to paint a constant picture of someone – perceptual constancy. We percieve the target the same over time and different situations Perceptual consistency – the perceivers tendency to ignore and distort cues to form a consistent image of the target.

Primary effect – The tendency for a perceiver to rely on early cues on first impressions. Often has a lasting impact Recency effect – people give undue weight to cues they encounter most recently Reliance on Central Traits. Centrail traits – personal characteristics of a target that are of interest to the perceiver Early cues don’t have much weight against this. They have a powerful influence on our perceptions of others. A big trait would be attractiveness – people who are considered attractive are also perceived as good when it comes to social competence and job performance .
Implicit Personal theories – characteristics that we believe go well together Ex) someone who is hardworking must be honest. They provide a base for misunderstanding.

The tendency to attribute ones thoughts or feelings to another. We basically see another person as we are They can also serve as a form of perceptual defence especially with the projections of negative attributions Ex) yeah I steal but so does everyone else

Its reasonable but sometimes its misleading. An honest worker maybe surprised to find inventory missing when he believes everyone is honest. Generalizing people in a certain social category and ignoring variations among them We distinguish some category of people. We assume individuals in these categories have certain traits We believe everyone in thie category has those traits. Its easier for the perceiver to rely on an inaccurate stereotype than discover the true nature of the target Stereotypes are reinforced by selective perception and selective application of language

Attribution – the process by which causes or motives are assigned to explain peoples behaviours Very important in organizations b/c rewards and punishments are based on what people think the targets motive was Dispositional attributions – bases a person behaviour on their personality or intellect. Ex) laziness, intelligence, greed Situational attributions – person’s external environment is the cause of the behaviour Ex) bad weather, good luck, poor advice

As we get familiar with the target, there are cues we notices to recognize their intentions Does the person engage in this behaviour regularly (consistency cues) Do most people engage in this behaviour or is it only this person (consensus cues) Does the person behave like this in many situations or is it distinctive to one?

Person who deviates from social expectations is seen as revealing more about their true motives Distinctiveness cues
Reflects the extent to which a person engages in some behaviour across a variety of situations If the behaviour is highly distinctive , in that it occurs only in one situation, we are likely to believe that some aspect of the situation caused the behaviour Attribution in Action.

Roshani – absent a lot, employees seldom absent and she was absent a lot in her previous job highly consistent, low consensus, not distinctive more likely dispositional attribution like shes irresponsible or lazy Mika – absent a lot, co-workers absent a lot, seldom absent in previous job highly consistent, high consensus, distinctive  more likely a situational attribution like the boss is nasty Sam – seldom absent, coworkers seldom absent, seldom absent in previous  inconsistent, high consensus, not distinctive  most likely a short term situational factor like a sick child.

Observers often operate in a rational, logical manner in forming attributions about behaviour Attributions made are not necessarily always right but they do represent good bets on why the behaviour occurred.

Tendency to overemphasize dispositional attributions at the expense of situational explanations Why? We tend to discount the effects of social roles on behaviours ex) bankers are seen as conservative but thanks because they’re job requires them to be that way Many times we see people in constant situations (like everyday at school) that we may forget how they behave in other situations This can lead to problems for managers with poorly performing employees. They may attribute their failures to dispositional attributions when the cause may actually be situationa.

Tendency of actors and observers to view the cause of the actors behaviour differently. Observer would be committing fundamental attribution error whereas actor would focus on the role of the situation as the cause for their behaviour .This happens because the actor is more aware of their feelings and thoughts towards their situation whereas the observer is unaware of that. This usually occurs during negative events. During positive events, the actor makes a dispositional attribution and the observer a situational attribution).

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