Perception vs. Attitude

Difference Between Perception And Attitude


Perception, a concept in philosophy and psychology with a family of meanings. The core meaning is immediate awareness: to perceive something is to become directly or immediately aware of it. For example, by means of our senses we perceive, or become aware of, the objects, events, and persons in our environment. We  a baseball game, hear a symphony, smell a rose, and so on. We are said also to perceive less tangible things through the use of our senses, as when we perceive the happy mood of a friend or the complexity of a social situation in which we find ourselves. Other examples reveal that perception may be still further removed from sensory activity. We may perceive the justice of a parent’s punishment of a wayward child. A mathematician may perceive a crucial error in a proof. Even if the senses are indirectly involved, we do not , hear, or smell the justness of the punishment or the mistakenness of the proof. Here perception amounts to apprehension or intuition.


Attitude, a predisposition to respond in a certain way to a person, object, situation, event, or idea. The response may come without conscious reflection. A person who shows a certain attitude toward something is reacting to his conception of that thing rather than to its actual state. An attitude is more enduring than a mood or whim; it produces a consistent response. For example, a man who has an unfriendly attitude toward foreigners will show dislike of most foreigners he meets or hears about.

Attitudes are closely related to opinions. A distinction can be made, however, in that a person can state his opinions in words but may not be able to express his attitudes in the same way. He will reveal his attitudes by his actions and only indirectly by the content of his statements. Attitudes are also related to prejudices. A prejudice is a rigidly fixed attitude, usually unfavorable, though a favorable prejudice is also possible. An attitude becomes a prejudice when the predisposition is so strong that no attention is paid to evidence that might call for a changed reaction. If a man says that all government employees accept graft, he is showing an attitude. If he refuses to accept proof that many government employees are honest, he has developed a prejudice.

Attitudes are formed as a result of some kind of learning experience. In some cases the experience is one single dramatic or damaging event. If, for example, a man is robbed by a member of a certain ethnic group, he may thereafter fear all members of that group. Attitudes may also be learned simply by following the example or opinion of a parent, teacher, or friend. A child may take on his parents’ prejudices about politics, for example. Attitudes are often built up more slowly, however. Growing up in a happy home may contribute to a favorable attitude toward marriage. In addition to the home, important builders of attitudes are schools, churches, and media such as newspapers and television. The agencies that help form attitudes can also change attitudes, though reshaping a deep prejudice may take years of effort–or even be impossible.




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