Selective Perception: Is it reality or flawed opinion

Selective PerceptionSelective perception is the process by which people perceive what they want to in media messages while ignoring opposing viewpoints. It is a broad term to identify the behavior all people exhibit to tend to “see things” based on their particular frame of reference.

It also describes how we categorize and interpret sensory information in a way that favors one category or interpretation over another. In other words, selective perception is a form of bias because we interpret information in a way that is congruent with our existing values and beliefs.

This topic started around our kitchen table as our adult children were weighing in on various topics. They were speaking about people and things they could not possibly know about. Everyone was sharing their opinions on various topics and people–it occurred to me that we all have our own narrative about how we see life and the world.

The fundamental problem with our own “self-narration” is that it often leads to poor action, responses, and results.

Everyone has a narrative – It’s how we explain life, people, business, relationships, and more. It’s the story we tell ourselves about others–their motivation and attitude–it’s our way of explaining how people, business, and life operate. The problem is we are often DEAD WRONG!

Selective Perception: Is it reality or flawed opinion

Science calls this cognitive filtering or selective perception. There are studies that indicate that we actually filter out information that counters our opinion or hunch about a given topic. This is dangerous for variety of reasons because it omits fundamental reality and truth and substitute’s our often flawed opinion with hearsay and narration from those who are least able to offer it.

The problem with our negative narratives is that we’re often flawed in the way we perceive reality. This could not be truer than in business and the marketplace. In business, it is imperative we be accurate in our assessment of reality. Bad decisions are made and even compounded based on flawed assessments. Leaders often make decisions based on bad data, and poor interpretation of the facts.

The fundamental problem with our own “self-narration” is that it often leads to poor action, responses, and results. This can lead to loss, bankruptcy, broken relationships and companies—you get the picture! Relate this to customers, stake holders, competition and the marketplace at large–with this wrong “reading” of we end up misjudging, miscalculating, and completely misunderstanding an entire situation– possibly killing an entire enterprise.

sales and marketingSelective Perception Solutions

1. Have openness about life, people, and relationships – We have, at best, incomplete information about others and no real way to know it all. What we really need is a new narration–the ability to be open and not get into the temptation to tell a story about others when we really don’t know the facts?

2. Be a Person of Possibility – This starts with believing the human condition can improve, learn and evolve. We can learn to grow and actualize and enlighten personally, spiritually, and mentally. This is not an easy task-but we actually can get better!

stress management3. Have Trusted Advisers – Stay close and value people in your life who are not afraid to push back when you begin negative narration. Have business friends who will challenge your dominant paradigms.

4. Catch yourself – When you begin to mentally “go” negative-notice it and stop it. Get into the habit of stopping your own negativity and replace it with something more positive!

5. Be about getting good, solid facts first! – Get good Intel and peddle in facts not fiction!

Now go and re-tell your (positive) story today… We will all be glad you did!


This article taken from Scott Hammond’s Site:  Become a Better Father