Thursday, February 24, 2011

Seeing Yourself As Others Do

Most of us can not see ourselves as others do. We think we have an idea, but its accuracy is an illusion. How we perceive how others perceive us is called "metaperception." Studies show we often view ourselves more favorably than others do. It's not wishful thinking, it has a lot to do with our need to be accepted, liked, and connected. A positive self-concept is beneficial.

Some people try to avoid the thought of metaperception by saying "F*#k it, I don't care what people think of me." Chances are they received a lack of feedback, or negative feedback, when they were a child which affected their self-concept.

As an infant scans his mother's face he absorbs clues to who he is; as adults we continue to search for our reflections in others' eyes. While the parent-child bond is not necessarily destiny, it does take quite a bit to alter self-concepts forged in childhood, whether good or bad.

People rely on others' impressions to nurture their views about themselves, both personally and professionally. Also, it turns out that we often don't see ourselves as other people see us because of two major reasons identified in social psychology:

Attentional bias: We assume others are paying much more attention to us than they really are. People usually don't notice the details we think they do.
Construal bias: We see everything filtered through our own beliefs, attitudes and intentions, especially when situations are ambiguous or when our own beliefs, attitudes and intentions are very different from our mind-reading target.
Psychologists say that one of the challenges of social networks is managing one’s online persona to take into account the limitations of metaperception. This is a domain where many embellish their controlled persona in order to adjust whatever perceived discrepancies they may have in how they see themselves, and how they want to be seen.
More information on metaperceptions can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for breaking this one down professor, my FB friends will get a kick out of this article.