Perception involves selection, organization and interpretation of stimuli received from the environment. The following factors influence perception:

Factors in the Perceiver

The factors in the perceiver that affect perception are:

Attitudes- Attitudes have a powerful influence on what we pay attention to, what we remember, and how we interpret information. Different attitudes lead to different interpretations.

Motives- Motives stimulate individuals. It is unsatisfied need. They exert strong influence on perception. For example; hungry people tend to see images of food.

Emotions- An individual’s emotional state strongly influences perception. Anger and frustration distort perception.

Interests- Individual interests differ considerably. Interest influences the focus of attention. Differences in individual interests result in differing perceptions.

Experiences- Past experiences affect the focus of attention. Individuals tend to perceive those objects or events to which they can relate to.

Expectations- People see what they expect to see.

Factors in the Target

The factors in the target that affect perception are:

Novelty- Novelty targets are more likely to be noticed than the targets observed in the past.

Motion, sound, size- They shape the way we see the target. Loud people are more likely to be noticed.

Background- a target is not looked at in isolation. The relationship of target to its background influences perception.

Proximity- Objects that are close to each other tend to be perceived together.

Similarity- Similar things need to be grouped together. For example; black people are perceived as alike even in unrelated characteristics.

Factors in the Situation

The factors in the situation that affect perception are:

Time- The time at which an object or event is seen affects perception. For example; a daily report arriving after two days may be ignored by the perceiver.

Work setting- The changing context of the work setting influences perception. For example; stressful work situations distort perception.

Social setting- The changing social setting influences perception. For example; a male student wearing earrings may not be noticed in a disco but highly noticeable in the classroom.