“Perception
is the process by which individuals select, organize, and interpret their
sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment” (Chitale, Dubey, and Mohanty, 2012) However,
perception and reality can be two entirely different things; people”s behaviour
is based on their perception of what reality is, not on reality itself.  “The
world that is perceived is the world that is behaviourally important.” (Chitale, Dubey, and Mohanty, 2012)

The term ‘perception’ originated from
a Latin word ‘percepio’ meaning “receiving, collecting, action of taking
possession, apprehension with the mind or senses.” (Shergill, 2012) Thus, perception
is the dynamic psychological process responsible for attending to, organizing
sensory data. Effectively, the individual’s ability to observe the world comes
through perception, which reveals the world to an individual through their five
senses; touch, sight, smell and taste.

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Some contend that perception is
purely subjective since the world around us is always perceived through our
lens. “Subjective perception is the manner in which an individual views the
physical world based on the workings of his own brain and sensory systems. Each
individual has a brain, sensory systems, and cognitive structures that differ
from those possessed by everyone else.” (“What Is Subjective
Perception?”, 2017) “Sometimes our lenses are similar to those of others,
but no lens in history has been the same as mine or yours because no
one’s life experiences have been exactly the same.” (Kobayashi C., 2017)

On the other hand, objective
perception means “perceiving reality, all that confronts our awareness, as it
is”.  (“Objective Perception”, 2017) In this manner of
perception, things are seen as they are rather than from a particular point of
view or position matter seeing things as they are, rather than seeing them from
a certain point of view or
position; “a statement is objective if it is neutral and not influenced by
prejudices, feelings and interests.” (Rohrer, 2007)

“We all live in our own world which
is our individual brain’s unique interpretation of the input it receives.  There is no single, uniform reality that is
consistent among all of us.  Reality
depends on what actually happens (objective) and how our brains make sense of
what happens (subjective).” (Hampton, 2017) It is important to emphasise that both
subjectivity and objectivity are necessary components of reality. Additionally,
reality is a subjective concept exclusive to every individual, “while there are
many commonalities across all of our realities, it cannot be assumed that
everything is the same for all of us or even remotely close to it.” (Hampton,
2017)

I strongly agree that everyone is
entitled to their own way of perceiving and describing the world. Everyone
should be able to perceive their reality through their personality, past
experiences, culture and present feelings. We are all unique individuals, with
distinguishing thoughts, thus, it is our duty to perceive the world from our
inimitable point of view. As described by Sharma & Mishra (2009) “everybody
has their own way to perceive the reality, but the combination is different. In
no case, do two individuals have the same mapping. They will absorb the
experiences in a unique and personal way. The pessimist will say. ‘Ah the glass
is half empty’, while the optimist will say, ‘Oh the glass is half full’.”

“The written words, spoken words, and
nonverbal language selected are paramount in ensuring the receiver interprets
the message as intended by the sender” (Burnett & Dollar, 1989). Nevertheless,
in any type of communication, there is always a chance that the intended
meaning is lost in the communication process due to perceptual influences. In
the process, humans receive stimuli from their environment, organize the
information and then interpret the information, however perception may easily alter
any of the steps of basic communication.

We take in information through all
five of our senses, however, the world around us includes so many stimuli that
it is impossible for our brains to process and make sense of it all. So, as
information comes in through our senses, various factors influence what is
forwarded through the perception process (Fiske & Taylor, 1991).

 

The perception process is “the
sequence of psychological steps that a person uses to organize and interpret
information from the outside world.” (“Individual Perceptions and
Behavior | Boundless Management”, 2017) The perception process consists of
five stages, starting off with stimulation, followed by organisation of stimuli,
then giving meaning, memorising and finally recalling. (DeVito, 2009) “The selection, organization, and interpretation of perceptions can
differ among different people. Therefore, when people react differently in a
situation, part of their behavior can be explained by examining their
perceptual process, and how their perceptions are leading to their responses.” (“Individual
Perceptions and Behavior | Boundless Management”,

“Several perceptual processes
influence what you observe and what you fail to observe, what you infer or what
you fail to infer about another person.” (“Your perception in your
interpersonal communication”, 2012) Such processes enable an individual to
simplify and classify the widespread volumes of information surrounding
him/her, however, their perception might be very easily influenced. There are
two related and prominent features of the process of human perception, the halo
effect and stereotyping. The halo effect is a cognitive bias in which one’s
judgments of a person’s character can be influenced by one’s overall impression
of him or her. On the other hand, stereotyping is when an act of assumption,
that might not be particularly true, is made over an individual or group of
people. In other words, stereotyping is a thought process that organizes beliefs
about one group of people and assigns them to everyone in that group.

Other factors including the implicit personality
theory, self-fulfilling theory, perception accentuation, primacy-recency as
well as consistency, have an additional influence on one’s perception of things.
According to the implicit personality theory, “when we meet someone, we absorb
the most evident traits and then make general assumptions about that person’s
personality”. (“Implicit Personality Theory & the Halo Effect’s Impact
on Forming Impressions | Study.com”, 2017) On the other hand, the
self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when one makes a prediction that comes true
because you act on it as if it were true. For example, if one goes to a group
thinking that other members in that group will not accept him/her, the person
may end up feeling rejected because of his/her behaviour may provoke the
group’s response and confirm the person’s belief. Furthermore, perceptual
accentuation leads individuals to see what they expect and want to see. For
example, an alcoholic person may easily spot a bar at the corner of a crowded
street hidden among other shops. Additionally, the primacy-recency concept
reflects on the fact that there is a tendency to use early information to get
general idea about a person, and use later information to make this impression
more specific. Finally, consistency is the tendency to maintain balance among
perceptions or attitudes. In simple terms, one may expect certain things to go
together and other things not to go together. (“Your perception in your
interpersonal communication”, 2012)

One may follow
some simple guidelines in order to make his/her perceptions more accurate. One must be aware of their perception, compare
their perceptions with those of others, reduce uncertainty and be culturally
sensitive. The individual may also easy carry out a process of self-evaluation
through a three-step process. First, one is to describe the
behaviour or situation without evaluating or judging it. Then, the individual
must think of some possible interpretations of the behaviour, being aware of
attributions and other influences on the perception process. Finally, he/she
must verify what happened and ask for clarification from the other person’s
perspective, keeping in mind that the other person would have most likely perceived
the event somewhat differently. (“Improving Perception | Communication in
the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies”, 2017)

Perception
is the process by which people organize and obtain meaning from the sensory
stimuli they receive from their environment. As discussed throughout, each individual
perceives their own environment, in their unique manner, as influenced by their
distinctive thoughts. Additionally, various factors shape our perception of the
world around us, thus, it is important to be attentive as possible to avoid
misinterpretations and enhance accuracy in our understanding. It is extremely
important that society as a whole comes to the realisation that each individual
perceives things differently, thus enhancing tolerance, broadening and perhaps
altering individual views and opinions, and most importantly avoiding conflict.