Perception is that gap which is between what is reality and what is a created reality. Perception is one of the driving factors in people’s lives. Psychologically perception is a process of recognizing and interpreting the sensory stimuli. This cognitive process and unique interpretation is the most complex of all processes. There are several factors that govern a person’s perception for a situation or for another person. These are not always true for that situation but just a way of receiving, organizing and interpreting it by people. What are those factors that rule one’s senses while he/she creates an opinion about something or someone?
There are these three broad categories that dominate the perceptual process:
a. Perceiver – Someone who is sensing a particular situation or stimuli.
b. Setting (background) – the place or the background where a particular situation is happening.
c. Perceived – The target or the event that has occurred.
Perceptual process is governed by above factors and broken down in the following stages after the perceiver perceives a particular situation:
a. Attention and selection – At this stage the receiver or the perceiver pays heed to a particular situation/a person. There would be numerous happenings going around him/her however he would choose a particular of them. He/she would make a selection of a situation and creates a perception around it.
b. Organization – The selection which the perceiver has made would consist of some data or unorganized set of events which he/she would organize according to his/her understanding.
c. Interpretation – After organizing the data or bit and pieces of data the information can be derived out of it and that situation can be interpreted.
d. Retrieval- This is the last stage of creating an opinion about a situation.
Perception is purely a psychologically driven phenomenon and a scientifically proven cognitive process.
It leads to several ups and downs in the world, because when people have their own ways or methods of rearranging a situational data and interpreting it, then it results in various forms of discrepancy and not always a perception is a reality or even close to reality. Most of the times perception is erroneous and is formed due to the perceiver’s own previous experiences and his/her methods of doing selection out of the numerous stimuli that he/she receives from the surroundings.
Perception is the major driver of image creation across various areas be it showbiz, corporate world or the routine life. People try to control the perception that other’s form of them, and try to come out as clean image in various situations. In most situations a person is known by one or more of his/her attributes. This is called “Halo Effect”, where in person’s perception is the outcome of a single feature he/she is known for that in a certain way creates an identity for him/her. For e.g. a highly proactive, focused and a person who influences people towards a common goal is considered to be a good leader. He has leadership skills and he is perceived to be this way and this is referred to as his Halo Effect.
Perception can be of various types one most common is selective perception. This is a tendency of a perceiver to notice only those aspects of a person or situation that are consistent with or reinforce the perceiver’s existing attitudes, beliefs or needs.