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Chapter 2
The Perception Process
• Perception: “the process of selectively attending to
information and assigning meaning to it”

• Perception becomes reality; what one sees, hears, and

interprets is real and considered true to that person

• When perceptions are different from those with whom you

interact, sharing meaning becomes more challenging
How Does Perception Work?
• Attention and Selection (needs, interests, expectations)

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in the in a
the springtime a lifetime

• Organization of Stimuli (simplicity, pattern)

• Interpretation of Stimuli
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Perceptions of Self:
Self-Concept and Self-Esteem
• Self-Concept: your self-identity; mental image you have about
your skills, abilities, knowledge, competencies, and personality
- Based on our experiences and other’s
reactions/responses to us; formed early in life

• Self-Esteem: your overall evaluation (positive or negative) of

your competence and personal worthiness
- Rooted in values and develops over time as a result of
- Can affect types of relationships we form and who we
form them with
Influence of Gender and
Culture on Self-Perceptions
• Individualistic cultures (e.g., USA): ppl care about self-
concept, self-esteem, self-image; think first of what is best for
one’s self when making a decision

• Collectivistic cultures (e.g., China): groups and social norms

tend to be more important than individuals; ppl are expected
to be interdependent and see themselves in terms of group

• Cultural expectations for gender inevitably influence self-

- Past: Boys—achievements, status, income
- Past: Girls—appearance and relationship skills
Changing Self-Perceptions
• Comments that contradict current self-perception lead you to

• Certain situations expedite process (e.g., when you experience

profound change in social environment)

• Why is this important to communication? Self-esteem affects...

- With whom we choose to form relationships
- How we interact with them
- How we participate when in small groups
- How comfortable we feel when called to present
Accuracy and Self-Distortion of
• Accuracy of self-concept and self-esteem depends on accuracy
of our own perceptions and how we process others’
perceptions of us

• Incongruence: gap between our inaccurate self-perceptions

and reality

• How can our self-perceptions become distorted?

- Self-fulfilling prophecy
- Filtering messages
- Media images
Effects of Self-Perceptions on
• Moderates how we talk to ourselves (self-talk)

• Influences how we talk about ourselves with others

• Affects communication apprehension

Presenting Self to Others
• Self-Monitoring: internal process of observing and regulating
your own behavior based on your analysis of the situation and
others’ responses to you

• Most likely to self-monitor when in a new relationship or

unfamiliar situation

• We present differing personas in response to different

situations and relationships and change ourselves in process

• Facebook “self”: Does it accurately reflect all of who you are?

Perception of Others
• Uncertainty Reduction theory: monitoring social environment
to learn more about self and others

• Initial social receptions/first impressions are made from

observations of how they look or act

• Implicit personalities theories: assumptions about which

physical characteristics and personality traits or behaviors are
associated with each other

• Perception based on halo effect when using IPT; you

generalize and perceive a whole set of characteristics when
you have only observed one
Perception of Others
• Using stereotypes, which can lead to prejudice and discrimination

• Emotional state at time of interaction; attributions

• Perceiving others’ messages: context and shared language

• Improving accuracy of social perceptions:

- Question accuracy
- Seek more info. to verify perceptions
- Realize perceptions of a person will change over time
- Use perception checking