Factors that influence social perception Essay

Are our Social Perceptions often Inaccurate?


Social perceptions enable people to predict the possible outcomes of issues and events and the feelings, thoughts, and motivations of others. The social perceptions are accurate in cases where a person makes judgments out of direct experience from the subject or source (Jussim, 2012). In most cases, however, the perceptions are influenced by personal expectations, beliefs, and messages from others Factors that influence social perception Essay. As demonstrated in this paper using the investigation piloted by Coyne et al. (2020), such interferences affect the accuracy of the judgments or social perceptions. Although neurological studies conducted recently have shown the social perceptions to be accurate, they have not taken into consideration the personal factors that affect accuracy. In this regard, the stance taken in this paper is that social perceptions are often inaccurate.

Arguments and Counterarguments

The inaccuracy of social perceptions is evident in the researches that rely on assumptions derived from theories and models. The assumptions can influence the expectations of the researchers, hence reducing the reliance on objective data-gathering and analysis processes. In such instances, the probability of getting inaccurate results is very high if the researchers do not use the recommended or the most suitable study methods and models Factors that influence social perception Essay .Coyne et al. (2020) addressed the impacts of the time used on social media for mental health. One of the assumptions from the displacement hypothesis is that escalate in the hour depleted on social media reduces the amount of time that could be used in other activities such as sleeping, which can protect mental health. Coyne et al. (2020) find that the assumption has influenced the right proportion of the previous studies focusing on the topic. Consequently, the researchers have focused on comparing heavy users of social media with others who do not use it frequently. They have found that the use of social media increases mental state problems. However, the research admnisterd by Coyne et al. (2020) has proved such previous studies to be inaccurate because of the failure to use the suitable longitudinal and analytical approaches Factors that influence social perception Essay.

The study piloted by Coyne et al. (2020) has also proved the reliance on the assumptions to have affected the judgments and perceptions of the researchers that have found the increase in the use of social media to have a beneficial effect on the psychological health. Such researchers have been influenced by the assumption of the gratification theory, which suggests that the increase in the utilization of social media helps in turning the mind away from the sources of stress and depression. Consequently, some of the inquiry have found that increased utilizations of social media is expected to have a positive impact on mental state. The outcome of the survey conducted by Coyne et al. (2020) proves such studies to be wrong. The main reason why they are illegal is that they also fail to use suitable analytical and longitudinal study approaches.

In addition to overreliance on assumptions, the researchers for the previous studies have mainly been following norms and beliefs in research rather than adopting the most suitable strategies. Specifically, Coyne et al. (2020) find that the primary source of inaccuracy among the previous studies is the reliance on making comparisons between study participants rather than focusing on the changes within participants over a given period. In their choices of study approaches, most of the researchers have been influenced by the previous studies, most of which focus on measuring the differences between different groups of individuals. Ross, Nisbett, and Funder (2007) explained that the following norms affect the subjectivity of an assessor, especially when the beliefs and assumptions are affected Factors that influence social perception Essay. Thus, the reliance on standards gives an explanation to the cause of the inaccurate results by the previous studies. The presence of such limitations in the earlier researches demonstrates that our perceptions are incorrect.

Conversely, neurological studies have found social perceptions to be often accurate. As Zaki and Ochsner (2011) explained, the accuracy is caused by the ability of the mind to be receptive to the emotional and mental states of others. According to the study conducted by Zaki and Ochsner (2011), accuracy is also facilitated by the engagement of the mirror neuron system during the processes of making assessments of the subjects. The results of the neurological studies are correct. However, the studies focusing on the issue fail to consider personal factors such as beliefs, previous experiences, and expectations, which are very common and have significant impacts on social perception Factors that influence social perception Essay.


Overall, social perceptions can be accurate, mainly if no factors are affecting objective evaluation and assessment processes. However, human beings are usually influenced by expectations, beliefs, previous experiences, and other personal influences in making evaluations. The individual factors can be caused by societal forces such as norms and the widely held assumptions. The study done by Coyne and colleagues demonstrates that due to the influence of personal factors, the probability of developing inaccurate social perceptions is higher than the possibility of accurate impressions.


Coyne, S. M., Rogers, A. A., Zurcher, J. D., Stockdale, L. & Booth, M. (2020). Does time spent

using social media impact mental health? An eight-year longitudinal study. Computers in Human Behavior, 104, pp. 1-9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.106160

Jussim, L. (2012). Social perception and social reality: Why accuracy dominates bias and self

-fulfilling prophecy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Zaki, J., & Ochsner, K. (2011). Reintegrating the study of accuracy into social cognition

research. Psychological Inquiry, 22(3), pp. 159-182 Factors that influence social perception Essay