Perceptual Errors

1 January 2017

Perception is the process by which people interpret the input from their senses to give meaning and order to the world around them. According to the text, it is the process by which individuals select, organize, and interpret sensory data. The three components of perception are the perceiver, the target (the perceived), and the situation. The perceptual process begins with environmental stimuli and ends with a response or behavior. The perceiver responds to meaningful environmental stimuli and perceives what he or she wants and expects to see.

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The perceived is said to be influential in the perceptual process because certain general attributes of the perceived object, person or idea influenced what is noticed and what is not. The nature of the environment therefore influences what is perceived as normal or appropriate. Hellriegel and Slocum (2011) discuss perceptual selection and answer the question as to why people select or filter out a particular stimulus amongst multiple conflicting stimuli. This Running head: Bookwork/Fieldwork: Entry 32. process is evidenced by what is referred to as external and internal factors.

External factors that affect perceptual selection are intensity, size, motion, contrast, and repetition. Internal factors include motivation, learning, personality, expectations, needs and interests such as sex, money and ethnic identity. Person perception according to the text is the process by which the individual attributes characteristics or traits to other people. Attribution then, is how an individual explains another person’s behavior. This can be determined by whether or not individuals are internals or externals.

In internals the image of a person is in the individual’s head. For example, if someone attributes failure to internal forces, the individual will be blamed. On the other hand if that failure is attributed to external forces the environment rather than the individual will be blamed. Perceptual errors are errors in judgment and understanding. The text mentions the five most common perceptual errors: perceptual defense, which in essence is to protect one’s psyche and resist change. Stereotyping is to perceive an individual as a member of a group and thus having group attributes.

Halo effect is when an individual gains an impression either positive or negative, on the basis of one thing, characteristic, event, or performance of another individual. Projection is the tendency for individuals to see their own traits in other people. Impression management is an attempt by individuals to manipulate or control the image or impression that others form about them. Attribution is an explanation of the cause of behavior. Attributions are important determinants of behavior in an organization because organization members react to other people’s behavior based on what they think caused the behavior.

Common internal attributions Running head: Bookwork/Fieldwork: Entry 33. include ability, effort, and personality. For example, poor performance may be attributed to lack of effort or ability, and poor relations with coworkers may be attributed to personality. Common external attributions for behavior include task difficulty and luck, chance, and easy tasks. Like perceptions, attributions can be inaccurate because of biases, including the fundamental attribution error, the actor-observer effect, and self-serving attribution.

According to Attribution theory, three factors determine whether an individual’s behavior is internally or externally caused: Distinctiveness which shows different behaviors in different situations. Consensus is the extent to which the individual’s response is the same as others in the same situation. Consistency is the extent to which the individual responds in the same way over time. The Fieldwork Application: There was a time when I considered myself open-minded and a good judge of character. Over time that must have changed or I lost my touch.

Having lived an experience which has re-evaluated that concept, I realized that had I not thought it through and reconsidered my perceptions and attributions I would not have accomplished the social and emotional gratification of being a nurse. I have been in the field of nursing for many years, and through those years I have developed my own style of working and require things to be done in a certain way.

When I saw things not being done in the way I wanted them to be done, I would get annoyed, uneasy, and I always believed that I was a perfectionist and expected the same of every nurse that worked with me. I always had bias over people who had similar traits like mine, though they might not have been the brightest among the pack (similarity error). But with time and education, I realized that many things have changed and I have adapted to new ways of doing things; even if it meant investing more time and effort to learn new skills. I now have a different perception when I see and work with people around me.

I try to acknowledge good and efficient work, as well as being mindful of the time and effort other individuals dedicate to completing patient assignments. When I interviewed new nurses for preceptor ship in my organization, I would give examples of people whose work I had liked and would make recommendations to the new employees to follow in their footsteps (Contrast Error). Over the years, I have realized that each individual has his/her own identity and asking that individual to be a replica of somebody else kills their personality.

I have found that the maximum output from people comes out when they are themselves, and do the things they like to do, in the way which they try to do it. I have been guilty of judging people the moment I saw them, but quite often my first impressions have proven to be wrong (First-impression error). I have even made some mistakes in selecting nurses for my unit who looked impressive during interviews, but have failed miserably when they began work. So now, I do not jump to conclusions when I speak with potential employees.

I always reserve my judgment until I have spoken to references, and Running head: Bookwork/Fieldwork: Entry 35. thoroughly and objectively evaluated the person’s potential. I have stopped generalizing characteristics based on my own expectations. It took some time, but I realized that everybody comes in with a different frame of mind, attributes and culture. My experience with dealing with these scenarios has made me a much more mature leader and I am always considering ways for self-improvement.

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