Chapter 2: Self and Perception

Just as our perception of others affects how we communicate, so does our perception or view of ourselves. But what influences how we see ourselves? How much of ourselves is a product of our own making and how much of it is constructed based on how others react to us? How do we present ourselves to others in ways that maintain our sense of self or challenge how others see us? We will begin to answer these questions in this section as we explore self-concept, self-esteem, and self-presentation.
Self-presentation is also referred to as impression management.

Think back to the first day of classes. Did you plan for what you were going to wear? Did you get the typical school supplies together? Did you try to find your classrooms ahead of time or look for the syllabus online? Did you look up your professors on an online professor evaluation site? Based on your answers to these questions, your professors could form an impression of who you are as a student. However, would that perception be accurate? Would it match up with how you see yourself as a student?

Moreover, perception, of course, is a two-way street. You also formed impressions about your professors based on their appearance, dress, organization, intelligence, and approachability. The instructor and students’ impressions on the first day helped set the tone for the rest of the semester. As we go through our daily lives, we perceive all sorts of people and objects, and we often make sense of these perceptions by using previous experiences to help filter and organize the information we take in (Broadbent, 2013). Sometimes we encounter new or contradictory information that changes how we think about a person, group, or object. The perceptions that we make of others and that others make of us affect how we communicate and act. In this chapter, we will learn about the perception process, how we perceive others, how we perceive and present ourselves, and how we can improve our perceptions.


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Professional Communication Skills for Health Studies Copyright © 2023 by Chute, A., Johnston, S., & Pawliuk, B. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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