Sample Paper on Perception Versus Reality Activity

Perception

Perception Versus Reality Activity

Perception is the product of social learning and information. People learn their perceptions of others and the world through social learning modules that involve observing, imitating, and modeling one another. The social learning theory explains how different people interpret the pictures different as each individual’s learning differs from another’s. People learn from a young age by observing the behaviors and opinions of others and the outcomes of these behaviors. Human behavior, including discriminatory and prejudicial behavior, is learned in the same way. As such, I learned to interpret the pictures from observing, imitating, and modeling others around me. By observing others, I formed ideas regarding the performance of new behaviors. Later, this coded information guided my view of what was happening in the pictures.

Culture teachers in my life include every person I have interacted with over the years, from my parents and siblings, extended family, teachers, schoolmates, friends, and community, church and political leaders, as well as people I have observed. I have learned, both consciously and unconsciously, from all of these people how to interpret information in my environment. It is possible for me to change my perception of these pictures if I wanted to. To achieve this, I would need to pay selective attention to the specific social behavior I need to adapt. I would then need to retain the learned information by observing the behavior, for instance, non-discriminatory behavior of other people, and the resultant consequences. This observation would then convert into a symbol that I can access when reenacting the behavior in future. The next step in changing my perception would involve production where I would reproduce the observed behavior in appropriate situations and receive feedback from other people to help in deciding whether or not to adjust my representation in future. With time, the learned behavior would inform my perception.

 

Project Implicit Social Attitudes

Implicit attitudes concerns evaluations, whether favorable or unfavorable, towards people, things, and situations in the environment. These evaluations typically take place without conscious awareness regarding opinions concerning the abovementioned objects. Implicit social attitudes result from different influences within the unique experiences of each individual. Stereotypes are some of the most prominent implicit social attitudes. For the most part, implicit attitudes are the unidentified evidence of past experiences that influence favorable or unfavorable actions, feeling, or attitude toward social objects (Petty, Fazio, & Brinol, 2008). In the end, these feelings, attitudes, and actions have a direct effect on the behavior of the individual without the individual necessarily being aware.

In addition, just like socialization and experiences, social norms and culture also have a direct impact on implicit attitude. The impact of culture is, however, more notable given the major differences between explicit and implicit social attitudes. From an implicit point of view, people typically follow cultural attitudes regarding their social groups, which they recognize from their society’s mainstream culture. For instance, American mainstream culture upholds individualism and self-reliance. This can explain why an American might perceive an adult living with the parents as immature. This is to say that at an implicit level, the cultural or social norms people perceive in their surroundings play a vital role in shaping their attitudes. Perhaps, this is because of a weak distinction between people’s personal attitudes and their cultural evaluations towards attitude objects (Petty et al., 2008). In essence, implicit attitudes reflect both the experiences of individuals and the cultural contexts in which the individuals consider the attitude objects.

Reflection

From the lessons and materials presented in the course, it is evident that the brain is capable of performing impressive processes, ranging from learning unconsciously from cues in the environment to formulating opinions and attitudes regarding people, things, and situations within the surrounding. The reflection paper required responding to questions such as cultural stereotypes I can identify, why these stereotypes are either positive or negative, as well as how generational issues influence views regarding different groups, and whether these views assist or hinder them. In response to these questions, I identified the cultural stereotype that Africans are great athletes. Admittedly, I used to believe that this perception of Africans was positive. However, after going through the lessons and materials in the lesson, it became clear that this stereotype was negative. This is because the stereotype is likely to undermine the self-perception or esteem of any African who is not a good athlete.

Completing the exercises in this lesson demonstrated the hidden biases and stereotypes I held regarding different people, objects, and situations in my surrounding. I believe that, as a whole, the lesson has been instrumental in bringing to my attention the fact that my opinions and behaviors could be the outcome of a learning process with the potential to produce positive and negative outcomes. Perhaps, one of the greatest lessons learned from the materials involves the impact of environmental stimuli on perception. The course made it clear that environmental stimuli included anything that can be heard, smelled, tasted, seen, or touched as well as shifts in body position relative to other objects within the environment. Learning that perception is a perpetual process through which people experience the world around them greatly fascinated me as I got to think about the range of things I potentially perceive throughout the day without being aware.

I believe that the greatest challenge for me right now in terms of the topic covered concerns learning tolerance. I think that although I might be willing on a conscious level to change my view of people, things, or situations in my surrounding, my learned social experiences will somehow unconsciously still influence my opinions and behaviors. I believe that learning new codes that will undermine my biases is a difficult undertaking given that learned prejudices are typically resistant to change despite being faced by evidence that contradicts them. However, I believe that it is possible for me to form new behavior by engaging in the perpetual process that involves the environmental stimulus, attended stimulus, the image on the retina, transduction, neural processing, perception, recognition, and action.

I will use what I have learned in class to educate my peers and family members on the root of prejudice and discrimination in the hope that the information allows them to alter their behavior towards the people, objects, or situations they discriminate against. Hopefully, other people pick up on these cues and will learn non-prejudicial and non-discriminatory behaviors. The lesson made it clear that perception results from observation, imitation, and modeling. As such, changing what is observed can significantly alter behaviors that are imitated and ultimately modeled, thereby producing more positive outcomes. In the end, the ideas imparted in this lesson have transformed my view of the world as I now understand that the opinion, attitudes, and actions of others are also a direct result of their learned experiences.

References

Petty, R. E., Fazio, R. H., & Brinol, P. (2008). Attitudes: Insights from the new implicit measures.Hove, UK: Psychology Press.