Our Perceptions Affect our Interactions

Our Perceptions Affect our Interactions
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How our perceptions affect our interactions

Social psychology allows us to gain a greater appreciation for how our perceptions affect our interactions with other people. In many instances, people behave very differently depending upon the situation.

When we interact with others, the context in which our actions take place plays a major role in our behavior. This means that our understanding of objects, words, emotions, and social cues may differ depending on where we encounter them.

To fully understand why people do the things they do, it is essential to look at individual characteristics, the situation and its context, and the interactions among all these variables. For example, someone who is normally quiet and reserved might become much more outgoing when placed in some type of leadership role.

Contextual cues also help you make sense of other situations. What is appropriate in one place may not be appropriate in another. Making jokes is OK when studying with your friends, but not OK during the actual exam.

Also, context affects how you feel when you see something happening to another person. Picture someone being beaten on the street. If the person being beaten is your best friend, would you react in the same way as if he were a stranger?

The reason why you probably answered “no” is that your empathyThe ability to feel what another person is feeling, that is, to “place yourself in that person’s shoes.” may be influenced by context. Context will determine whether you jump in to help or run away in fear.

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In sum, social situations are shaped by contextual factors that affect how you feel and act.

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