Types of Perception in Communication

by Joey Papa; Updated September 26, 2017
Businessperson gesturing with hands

Someone’s perception is her reality. Perception in communication determines how one will communicate and how they will receive information from another person. Perception in communication is based on three elements. Your perception of others is the product of how you view yourself, that you remember things better if you relate to self and that you tend to ignore that which contrasts with your view of self.

Self-Perception

Close up of a woman

Your self-perception is the way you perceive yourself. The self-perception is based on your self-esteem, self-concept and self-efficacy. Your self-esteem is how much you value yourself. Are you confident or insecure in how you perceive yourself? Your self-concept is designed by how you think people perceive you, how you’re perceived in a group setting and your own perceptions based on past experiences. Self-efficacy is the predictions you make about yourself, such as “No matter what, I’m going to get that job.”

Environmental

Side angle of father talking to his son

Environmental perceptions are formed based on the context in which the information is received. For example, if a child turned to a parent and said, “I hate you,” that would have one obvious perception, but if you were practicing for a play and you read, “I hate you” in your script, the perception of the same words changes. One’s environment will shape the perception that creates a mental filter in which they will process life and information through.

Learned

Family looking in the forest

Learned perception is formed around personality, culture and habit. Learned perceptions are thoughts, ideas and beliefs that are formed by a person being taught. Whether they were formally taught or learned by example, an individual will process and react based on his or her learned perception. This can be seen in children reflecting their parent’s personality traits, religious beliefs and philosophy on life.

Physical

Colorful fabrics

Physical perception is based on the tangible world. It’s the way your physical ears and eyes perceive something and how your mind processes it. For example, in U.S. culture, it would be perceived as intrusive and rude for a stranger to stand close to you while you ride the bus, but in South American cultures, this is perceived as a norm. Another example of physical perception is our idea of color. Red represents danger or romance while blue represents calm or water. The way a person identifies with various colors is an example of physical perception.

Cultural

International flags, low angle view

Cultural perception differs from environmental perception because it refers to larger scale of a society and not a specific environment based on the persons life. Culture perceptions will vary from city to city and region to region. "For instance, an Asian American woman possesses at least two distinct identities, each associated with different and sometimes conflicting domain-specific stereotypes," according to researchers at Harvard University's Interpersonal Perception and Communication Laboratory. Cultural perceptions are formed by the sub-society in which a person is raised.

About the Author

Joey Papa lives in the Tampa Bay area, and has four years of experience as a professional copywriter. His years of experience and a bachelor's degree in communications from Oral Roberts University, provide him with creativity, technique and a comprehensive viewpoint to complete a wide array of writing styles.

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