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Selective Perception: Definition, Examples and Effects

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Selective perception bias refers to the tendency of people to perceive what they expect or want to perceive. This cognitive bias leads individuals to favor information that aligns with their pre-existing views while ignoring or undervaluing information that contradicts them.


Examples:

1. A person may selectively perceive a situation in which they are being criticized as an attack on their character, rather than constructive feedback.

2. A person may selectively perceive a situation in which they are being offered help as an insult, rather than an act of kindness.

3. A person may selectively perceive a situation in which they are being offered an opportunity as a burden, rather than a chance to grow.


Effects: Selective perception can have a significant impact on how people interact with each other and the world around them. It can lead to distorted interpretations of reality and can lead to misunderstandings, miscommunication, and conflict. It can also lead to a lack of trust and a feeling of being misunderstood or judged.


Do you want to expand your knowledge on this topic? Read our full in-depth article on cognitive biases.


Do you have extra 15 minutes today? Take our fun and interactive quiz to learn which of 16 reasoning styles you use, your overall level of rationality, and what you can do now to improve your rationality skills.

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