definition of social perception

Social perception is understood as the process by which people interpret social reality. In other words, it refers to how we perceive others and how we interpret their behavior.

The idea of ​​perception is applicable to social relations

Perception is one of the classic themes in psychology. In this sense, psychology at the beginning of the 20th century focused on the study of the laws that determine our sensory perception. With the passage of time some psychologists observed that these laws can be applied to the social sphere.

Aspects of social perception

Interpersonal perception is divided into two areas: the perception of other individuals and the perception of social groups.

The process of perception implies, in the first place, the existence of an observer and a person who is the object of perception. The observer adopts the role of judge and perceives the behavior of others and gives it meaning.

The information we perceive about others is complex, since very varied information is perceived

Thus, in the first place we perceive the physical characteristics of the other (their complexion, their height and their general appearance). Then we perceive the unobservable characteristics of the subject, which implies a series of feelings and emotions. Likewise, we also capture characteristics of their personality, their ideology or their abilities. The observer's culture and previous experience also intervene in the perception process.

One of the key elements in the processes of social perception is the question of social roles. Normally we perceive the other from the role they occupy in society and we especially value the prestige and professional success of some people, but we underestimate others because their role has less social recognition.

The role of prejudices in the perception of the other

When we meet a person, our perception of him or her may be conditioned by our prejudices. A prejudice is a preconceived idea. Commenting on others based on prejudice is a strategy that leads to the creation of stereotypes. In this way, we classify someone not because of their personal qualities but because of other circumstances (their social class, their ethnicity, their language or their way of dressing).

Social perception based on prejudice is a source of conflict, since judging others without knowing them is an unfair and unintelligent approach.

Photos: iStock - Gawrav Sinha / Bartosz Hadyniak

$config[zx-auto] not found$config[zx-overlay] not found