Definition of social perception:

In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of acquiring , interpreting, selecting and organizing sensory information

According to (Michener etal) social perception refers to the process through which we use available information to form impressions of other people to assess what they are like.

Social perception can generally be defined as the perceiving of attributes, characteristics and behaviours of ones associates or social groups. According to Mark Ylvisaker, social perception includes three domains of competence;

  • Knowing that other people have thoughts, beliefs, emotions, intensions, desires and the like.
  • Being able to read other peoples inner states based on their words behavior, facial expressions and the like
  • Adjusting ones actions based on those readings

Social perception can be influenced by individuals Unique Perceptual Filters such as values, needs, goals, interest, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, wants, knowledge, feelings, language and education.



The looking Glass Self

This concept was creted by Charles Horton Cooley in 1902. This concept is based on the premise that a person views himself through other perceptions in society and in turn gains identity. There are three main components of the looking glass self:-

  1. We imagine how we must appear to others
  2. We imagine the judgment of that appearance
  3. We develop our selves through the judgment of others

Apart from self perception, people also engage in perception of others who are in their environment



Social perception implies that a socially competent person can make note of other peoples facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, gestures, words, and the like and on the basis of these clues, make reasonable accurate judgments about that persons state of mind, emotions, and intentions.

Social perception is one important component of social competence and social success (including peer acceptance and friendship).

In addition to social perception, socially competent people must have knowledge of social rules, roles, routines and scripts in their social lives

They also have a concern for other people and make it a habit to adjust their behavior based on the needs of others.

Finally, they have the confidence needed to interact socially and accept the vulnerability associated with potential rejection.



Socially competent people then use the inferences about other peoples inner states to make good decisions about how to behave socially, hence this enables them to be able to fit in the society as well as exhibit acceptable human behavior.

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