HUMAN COMMUNICATION
IN SOCIETY
BY JESS K. ALBERTS, THOMAS K.
NAKAYAMA, AND JUDITH N. MARTIN
Prepared by Darrell G. Mullins
Salisbury University
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CHAPTER 4:
COMMUNICATING,
PERCEIVING, AND
UNDERSTANDING
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Overview of Themes
 The Importance of Perception
 What is Perception?
 The Individual and Perception
 The Individual, Society, and
Perception
 Ethics and Perception
 Improving Perception Skills
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The Importance of Perception
“When you communicate, you don’t just
respond to others’ words; you respond to
your perceptions of the way they look,
sound, smell, and, on occasion, feel.”
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The Influential Nature
of Perception
 How We Understand and Organize
the World Around Us
 How We Respond to the World
 How We Develop and Form
Identities
 How We Choose and Develop
Relationships
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What is Perception?
“Perception refers to the processes of selection,
organization, and interpretation of the information we
collect through our senses: what we see, hear, taste,
smell, and touch. The sensory data we select, the ways
we organize it, and the interpretations we assign to it
affect the ways we communicate.”
Marc Romanelli/Getty
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The Perception Process
 A process by which we take information in
and seek to understand it.
 Three separate but interrelated processes:
 Selection
 Organization
 Interpretation
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Selection
 Deciding what to select from the available
stimuli.
 Factors affecting selection:
 Intensity
 Size
 Contrast
 Repetition, Repetition
 Movement
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Organization
 Make Stimuli Recognizable
 Use Schemas
 Four Ways We Develop Schemas:




Cognitive Representation
Planning
Interpersonal Scripts
Categorization
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Interpretation
 Assigning Meaning to Stimuli
 Frame
 Attribution Theory
 Attributional Bias
 Self-Serving Bias
 Fundamental Attribution Error
 How Attribution Impacts Communication
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Perception and the Individual
“…a variety of individual factors influence your perceptual
processes and affect your selection, organization, and
interpretation of sensory input.”
Image 100/Alamy Royatly Free
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Factors Influencing
Individual Perceptions
 Physical Differences
 Taste, Sight, Hearing, Etc.
 Cognitive Differences
 Cognitive Complexity Test
 Constructs
 Interpersonal Constructs
 Personality Differences
 Emotions
 Outlook
 Knowledge
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The Individual,
Perception, and Society
“…the position you hold in
society and the cultures in
which you live affect what you
perceive and how you interpret
these perceptions.”
AP Images/Chen xiaogen-maginechina
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How Societal Factors
Affect Perception
 The Role of Power
 The Role of Culture
 The Role of Social Comparison
 Ethnocentrism
 Stereotypes
 Prejudice
 Ego-Defense
 Value Expression
 The Role of Historical Time Period
 Social Roles
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Ethics and Perception
“…if you perceive that
someone is old and your
stereotype of old people
is that they are infirm, you
may treat that person as
if she were a child—a
response that we regard
as unethical because it
stems from stereotypical
thinking.”
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Ethical Obligations
Related to Perception
 Mindfulness
 Distinguish between facts and
inferences
 Perception checking
Copyright © 2010, 2006 Pearson Education, Inc.
ID: 4176156 Level: 2
Improving Your Perception Skills
“…certain cognitive and
communication behaviors can
improve your ability to
perceive and understand the
world.”
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Work Toward Improving
Perception Skills
Ask yourself:
 What might I have failed to notice?
 Have I engaged in faulty thinking?
 Has my physical condition impacted my
perceptions?
 Has my cultural background influenced my
perceptions?
 Has my social role influenced my
perceptions?
Copyright © 2010, 2006 Pearson Education, Inc.