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Student Name and Surname – Lloyd Bonello 
I.D. Number (or Passport or Registration Number) – 0277798M
Email Address – [email protected]
Study-Unit Code – MCS1021
Title Name of Lecturer – Rev. Prof. Saviour Chircop
Assignment Title – Some contend that perception is purely subjective.  Everyone is entitled to their own way of perceiving and describing the world.  Do you agree?  What role does perception play in the communication process?
Number of Words – 1471 words

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I confirm that all material presented in this assignment is original and has not been presented, in part or in whole, for any other course or study-unit. All material that is not my own has been appropriately acknowledged according to the conventions of the style sheet guidelines set by The APA Style Guide. The material is acknowledged throughout the assignment and the List of Works Cited. 

I understand that accurate and effective use of English is an assessment criterion in the assignment, as is evidence of broader reading. 

An electronic copy of this assignment has been submitted to VLE

Perception is subjective and based on personal beliefs and past experiences to which an individual has been accustomed and exposed to. Common perceptual distortions that may reduce communication effectiveness include stereotypes, projections, halo effects, and selective perception.

Perception can be compared to a filter through which all communication passes as it travels from one person to the next. Because people tend to perceive things differently, the same message may be interpreted in a number of ways by various people. 

The concept of perception can only be expressed through communication between two or more people but there is no such conventional method where one can express their own perception to match that of another person i.e. No one knows whether or not all humans see colours in the same way.  In fact Jay Neitz, a colour vision scientist has proposed through pioneering research (and results) at the University of Washington that “we don’t all see the same colours”

French philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, built his theories on the concept of radical doubt. He believed that not everything which is perceived is necessarily part of our reality. The only thing that remains ethically real is the mind or consciousness which one uses to doubt and or believe perception, hence Rene’s famous latin formulation ‘Cogito ergo sum’, meaning ‘I think therefore I am’.

Virtual reality (VR), is a computer generated and controlled environment which simulates the physical presence of the real world. What would happen if virtual reality instruments were used for longer than recommended,?   Would that person start perceiving their virtual presence as their reality?  The user is deceived into believing that what is being displayed is actually real. Studies have shown that if a user believes that he/she is standing at the edge of a cliff, even if he/she tries their utmost to “jump off”, their ‘low-level lizard brain’ wont allow it. 

Communication between people can be interpreted differently due to influenced perception, such as stereotypes. Both ends of the conversation need to focus their attention towards each other to truly understand the sensory cues. Otherwise the perceiver will continue to visualise their own beliefs, which may result in communication breakdown.

Another common perceptual distortion, “the halo effect” causes our opinion of a person or a product/service to influence how we see that person’s/products specific attributes. If our opinion is positive (often evaluated on a small sample or even a single item), we will tend to assume that all of their attributes will be positive.  A classic example is Apple’s iPod, both beautifully and creatively designed became the MP3 to own and in most cases was the first product from Apple that one did own and experience.  The result of the iPod’s success was that all other products from Apple also enjoyed considerable increase in sales.  The consumer formed an overall impression of Apple products based on the experience enjoyed with the iPod.

Selective perception is an action by which only one perceives what he/she likes, completely ignoring nay thing else.  A similar situation would be where one always orders the same dish at the local restaurant completely ignoring the daily specials and the rest of the standard menu.

Marketing is a war of perception, and not products/services  More to the point, marketing is about placing your product or service in a positive light in the eyes of the target market.  Because consumers are hounded by so many adverts on a daily basis, they routinely filter through the media.  Selective perception marketing states that your customers happily ignore messages that clash with their values and attitudes. For instance, previous to Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, Nike had falsely developed advertising campaigns around its competitors, such as Reebok and Converse.  However when Nike targeted the passion of men and women to just get into better shape in addition to those who believed in willpower and devotion, sales figures rose considerably.

The difference between what is actually said and what is being perceived is called the ‘Perception Gap’ and depends hugely on how the is has been said, the tone of voice used and body language.  

For example a highly stressed and disorganised manager that has just received a mouthfull from the board of directors, immediately calls on his top and most reliable employee to come to his office for an ‘urgent meeting’ with immediate effect. On entering the office, the employee is spoke to as follows by the manager “We are very behind on office work. I need you to complete everything by the end of the month, no excuses.” The manager then open the office door and ask the employee to leave.

This is a classic example of what is termed to be a Perception Gap. The stressed manager allocated an important task to his most valuable and reliable employee knowing very well that he is the only member of staff who will manage to get the job done well and on time. However, the employee interpreted the communication as a blame which decreased the amount of trust between the employee and his manager. Consequently, due to this perception gap, the performance of the employee was not that of the norm.

Small misinterpretations end up turning into a negative impact on performance. It’s important for any leader/coach/manager etc… to be aware that the way in which one communicates to his or her team/staff can have a considerable effect on relationships and in turn, overall performance.

Irrespective of how successful a company perceives it’s brand to be, the overall result depends on the market.  How the market perceives itself in relation to a particular brand, its products and services, is critical for an effective marketing campaign.

For instance, in 2017, the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial was one of the lowest rated marketing campaigns in the world and was called ‘tasteless’, ‘tone deaf’ & ‘insulting’. Pepsi used genuine social struggles to sell its products.  Bernice King, daughter of US Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King sarcastically tweeted “if only daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.”  Although having a valued celebrity model, Kendall Jenner, this video campaign reached around 1.6 million views on YouTube, having five times as many dislikes as it had likes in the span of 48 hours. This all happened due to the misinterpretation of the video message. It was perceived as follows: All those time consuming women’s rights protests and demonstrations such as Black Lives Matter that have occurred throughout history, all would have been more effective if someone just gave the police force a can of Pepsi cola. This vague campaign went completely wrong due to a perception gap between the company, ‘Pepsi’, and their customers.

Another classic example of communication breakdown was when  McDonald’s exploited childhood bereavement in one of their campaigns. This one and a half minute commercial tries to portray a young boy questioning his mother with regards to his late father. This lead to the boy learning that the only thing they had in common is the love for the Filet-O-Fish. This advert received a negative notation on social media, with comments stating that McDonald’s was exploiting emotional trauma and grief in order to potentially increase sales. 

The Bud Light slogan ”The Perfect Beer For Removing ”No” From Your Vocabulary For The Night” was one of the biggest marketing failures in terms of ignorance and attitudes towards rape with users calling the campaign “reckless”, “thoughtless” & “unsavoury” and “the official beer of Bill Cosby” who has been accused by numerous women for sexual assault allegation. The slogan was perceived by many in that the beer is for a ‘certain type’ of woman who is carefree, gets drunk and doesn’t care what happens to her.  To make things worse the product was backed up by a Twitter marketing campaign entitled #UpforWhatever rendering this campaign as being doomed right from the start.
To Conclude, everyone has their own perception towards different people and objects. With the help of previously encountered experiences, we are able to process information which has been given to us through any source of communication. Communication is based entirely on perception. Tone of voice, posture and use of emotions all factor within the communication barrier of perception. 

Even well established international companies such as Mc Donalds,  Pepsi and Budweiser need to communicate their message well with their customer base in order to keep their customer loyalty at a high. Neglecting the importance of efficient communication and not getting the message across as was intended, could result in a loss of sales and customer trust. One has to study carefully his or her audience before a marketing campaign is to be created as communication could be perceived differently by different people i.e sex, nationality, religion, age, social class and status

Bibliography

Chris Dixon – Virtual Reality – A NEW CREATIVE MEDIUM WHERE THE DEFAULT STATE IS BELIEF. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2018, from https://genius.com/Chris-dixon-virtual-reality-a-new-creative-medium-where-the-default-state-is-belief-annotated

Descartes: ‘I Think Therefore I Am’  |  Chapter 7: Knowledge and Learning  |  New Learning  |  New Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2018, from http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-7/descartes-i-think-therefore-i-am

Loehr, A. (2014, July 28). Why Communication Fails and How to Fix It: The Perception Gap. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-loehr/why-communication-fails-a_b_5627692.html

Fairbairn, E. (2017, April 06). Pepsi falls flat with Kendall Jenner in ‘tasteless’ £40MILLION ad attempting to piggyback Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/3275850/pepsi-ad-kendall-jenner-falls-flat/

Richards, V. (2015, April 29). Bud Light apologises for ‘pro-rape’ advertising campaign. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/bud-light-apologises-for-pro-rape-advertising-campaign-10212332.html

Siddique, H. (2017, May 16). McDonald’s pulls ad that ‘exploited child bereavement’. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/16/mcdonalds-apologises-over-ad-exploiting-child-bereavement

Visual Experience: Sensation, Cognition, and Constancy. (2014, November 05). Retrieved January 15, 2018, from http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199597277.001.0001/acprof-9780199597277

Wolchover, N. (2012, June 29). Your Color Red Really Could Be My Blue. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from https://www.livescience.com/21275-color-red-blue-scientists.html

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