It is a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impression in order to give meaning to their environment.
Perception is important because people's behavior is based on their perception of what realty is and not on realty itself.
There are three factors influencing perception. They are:
When an individual tries to interpret what he sees, his interpretations and influenced by his personal characteristics. The personal characters in influencing perception are attitudes, motives, interests, past experiences and operations.
People seeing something perceive if differently because of their different attitude. E.g.: If we expect young people to be unambitious we may perceive them the same way regardless of their actual traits.
Characteristics of the target being observe can affect what is perceived. Loud people are more likely to be noticed in a group than quite ones. So are extremely attractive or unattractive individuals. The relationship of the target to its background also influences perception.
Example: An object placed next to a huge object is perceived as small. The same object placed next to a small object is perceived as huge.
The context in which we see an object also influences perception. This includes the time, location, light etc.
Example: A heavily dressed individual will certainly catch everybody's attention in a college campus. The same person mat not be perceived at all in a party hall.
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