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Overcoming Personal Barriers to Perception

Brittany is working toward her Master's in Human Services at Purdue University Global


Personal perception can influence our thoughts of ourselves, self-concept (the way we see ourselves in social situations), and our thoughts of others. There are some serious flaws in the way we perceive things. That is a dangerous path to go down, however, I think more dangerous is our inability to accept new knowledge and experience positive growth.


On the organizational level, this can be seen with religion. While most religions promote love and acceptance, throughout history we have seen wars and hatred stemming directly from religious groups. After reviewing the text, I believe this occurs via self-serving bias and self-fulfilling prophecies. We learn a schema through experience, but those schemata are not always accurate.

In the book, The Psychology of Verbal Communication, R. M. Krauss says the following concerning schema: "Sometimes schemata become so familiar that we use them as scripts, which prompts mindless communication and can lead us to overlook new information that may need to be incorporated into the schema." While we experience a lot of new concepts and information during childhood and early adulthood, we have only experienced a very small portion of life. I am not advocating that we be easily persuaded, but an open-mind can go a long way.


Another example of a perceptional barrier is the idea of "us versus them." It's a common theme found throughout our culture. You can see it in sports, tv shows, books, politics, etc. People often become so entrenched in their perceived plight that they forget that we all should be working together toward a common goal. Not every solution will please both sides of the problem though.

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If you have ever worked in a restaurant you know that if you turn the ceiling fan on for one table, another table is going to ask you to cut it off. In this context, a compromise may be the way to go; I'll turn the fan off, but drop the temperature down a few degrees. Please tip me; I'm poor and have been sweating since 9 a.m.


Overcoming these issues is no easy feat, but through empathetic listening and self-reflection, perhaps we can find a common ground. You don't have to agree with someone to understand them.


Brittany Mayfield (author) on June 22, 2019:

Thanks! I hope to write more soon!

ptosis from Arizona on June 21, 2019:

Liked your article. You should expand it more with more examples.:)

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