Perspectives in Communication

Perspectives in Communication


• Definition of Perception

• Perceptual filters

• Perceptual tendencies

• Factors influencing perception

• Importance of having the right perception

• Changing perceptions


At the end of this session, students will be able to:

• Describe the perspectives affecting communication

• Identify the effects of perception on communication

• Discuss the influencing factors for changing perception


Perception is a process in which we use our senses to acquire information about our environment or any other situation, and thereby develop an individual understanding of the subject.

For example, while the color red may mean ‘stop’ in India, it would have the particular political significance for Communists, represent debt in the US, and suggest good fortune in China.

Perceptual Filters

Individual’s Unique Perceptual Filters (The World as it is, the World as it appears)

Values, Needs, Goals, Interests, Beliefs, Attitudes, Expectations, Wants, Knowledge, Feelings, Languages, Education

Importance of Having the Right Perception-Self

Incorrect self-perception facilitates:

• Stereotyping and bias

• Prejudices, resulting in ineffective communication

Hence, it is important to have correct self-perception. This can be achieved by asking for feedback.

Importance of Having the Right Perception Others

Having the right perception is important to avoid:

• Getting influenced by what is most obvious

• Clinging to first impressions, even if wrong

• Assumptions that others are similar to us

• Favoring negative impressions over positive ones

• Blaming innocent victims for their misfortunes

Attribution Theory

Attribution Theory has been proposed to explain the ways in which we judge people differently, depending on what meaning we attribute to a given behavior.

• Internal Attribution: The process of assigning the cause of behavior to some internal characteristic, rather than to outside forces like personality, motives or beliefs

• External Attribution: The process of assigning the cause of behavior to some situation or event outside a person's control such as situational or environment features

Internal attribution paves the way for positive emotions which in turn affects the output. The environment turns positive.

External attribution paves the way to negative emotions leading to negative environment.

Shortcuts to Perception

• Attribution: The process of attaching meaning to behavior.

 One judges one-self more charitably

 One judges others more critically

• Halo Effect: Drawing a general impression about an individual based on a single characteristic

• Contrast effects: Evaluations of person's characteristics that are affected by comparison with other people recently encountered who rank higher of lower on same characteristics

• Projection: Attributing one's own characteristics to other people

Perceptual Tendencies

• Stereotypes - Beliefs about attributes that are thought to be characteristic of members of particular groups

• Prejudice – Positive / Negative attitude or affective response toward a certain group and its individual members e.g. : One enters a situation, a meeting, or a conversation , with certain expectations of what will happen in that scenario, and behave accordingly.

• Bias- Unfair treatment of members of a particular group based on their membership in that group

Stereotype and Perception

Stereotype is an unavoidable psychological representation of characteristics of people belonging to particular groups; these representations involve three characteristics:

a) Shared group beliefs which are coined by the opinions or norms accepted by the social groups the perceiver belongs to

b) Energy-savers, reducing the effort of the perceiver

c) Meaningful, helping the observer give a meaning to the situation

Influence of Prejudice on Communication

To get an idea of how this could be happening in a workplace, consider how the phrases below can be completed. ( If you can’t think of a way to complete it from your own experience, complete each phrase with a stereotype that you might have heard in the past)

• Women in the workplace are..

• Young people in the workplace are..

• Seniors in the workplace are..

• Supervisors at work are..

• Working mothers in the workplace are…

Visual Perception

Visual perception is the ability to see, organize, and interpret one’s environment.

In the example above, which line looks longer to you? A? B?

Without visual perception, one would not be able to make sense of words that he/she reads, visually recognize common objects, or have the eye-hand coordination required for many daily tasks.

Key Component Areas of Visual Perceptual Skills

• Visual Discrimination: The ability to notice detail differences such as shape, size, color, or other dimensional aspects

• Form Discrimination: The ability to focus on a selected target and screen out or ignore irrelevant images

• Spatial Relations: The ability to recognize the positioning of objects in space

• Visual Closure: The ability to recognize an object, letter or number without seeing all of the object

• Visual Sequencing: The ability to see objects in a particular sequential order

• Visual Memory: The ability to remember forms (letters) and sequences of forms (words), and recognize them quickly when seen again

Language and Perception

The same words can have very different meanings depending on how one interprets them. The interpretation depends on the perception of the tone of the language.


A woman without her man is nothing.

A woman; without her, man is nothing.

Changing Perception

Have a right and realistic perception about self and others

1. Acknowledge the perception: This is often the scary step of admitting that one knows their flaws, and that one is aware of the impact on others

2. Reveal the intention: One has to state clearly if one wants to be seen differently, and that one is committed to growing in ability in the identified area

3. Be compassionate: Human beings are perfect and flawed at the same time, and there is huge grace in allowing ourselves to be seen fully, even if it means imperfectly (by self and others)

4. Accept continued steady progress: This is where one commits to continue work, matching ideal to real selves in partnership

5. Ask for feedback: Although this is hard, it makes sense to ask people to let know any accidental mis-steps


• Perception is a belief held by a person, or many people, based upon how they see the world around them

• It involves the process of selecting, organizing and interpreting Information around

• Feelings, visual factors, prejudice, stereotype, past experiences are the factors influencing perception

• Perception about self and others has to be appropriate

• Stereotype is a psychological representation of characteristics of people belonging to particular groups


All data and content provided in this presentation are taken from the reference books, internet – websites and links, for informational purposes only.


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