Chapter Summary and Glossary from Publisher
Chapter 2: Communication, Perception, and the Self
A significant part of our interpersonal communication effectiveness is based upon our
perceptions and on our self-concepts. Our perceptions are influenced by our self-identity,
and our self-identity is influenced by our perceptions. The two are inseparable in our
communication with others.
Perception is the process of using our physical senses to respond to the world around us.
The perception process occurs in four stages: attending and selecting, organizing,
interpreting, and retrieving. In the attending and selecting stage, we use our senses to
respond to our interpersonal environment, then decide which stimuli we will attend to. In
the organizing stage, we order the information we have selected so that it is
understandable and accessible. In the interpreting stage, we assign meaning to what we
perceive, based on our relational history, personal expectations, and knowledge of
ourselves and others. In the retrieving stage, we recall information we have stored in our
memories, which affects how we communicate with others. Perception is influenced by
many factors, including culture, sex and gender, physical factors, technology, and selfconcept.
A person's self-concept is the relatively stable set of perceptions a person holds of
himself or herself. Our self-concept is shaped by self-awareness, an understanding of who
we are; by self-esteem, an evaluation of who we perceive ourselves to be; and by selffulfilling
prophecy, predictions we make about ourselves.
An important component of the self is identity management, or the ways we handle