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Selective Perception and Selective Retention

L. J. Shrum


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Perception refers to the process of categorizing and interpreting information that is attended to (→  Perception ). Selective perception refers to the process of categorizing and interpreting information in a way that favors one category or interpretation over another. Thus, selective perception is generally considered to represent a bias in →  information processing . More specifically, information tends to be selectively perceived in ways that are congruent with existing individual needs, goals, values, →  attitudes , and beliefs. This process generally occurs automatically, outside the conscious awareness of the perceiver (→  Automaticity ). The process of selective perception can occur at various stages of perception, including the initial recognition and categorization of stimuli, attention to competing stimuli, and the interpretation of these stimuli. Selective retention (also known as selective memory) is a similar process by which some information is retained and stored in →  Memory (and is thus available for retrieving) and other information is not (and is thus forgotten). Like selective perception, selective retention is biased in terms of what information gets retained, with information that is more congruent with existing belief structures more likely to be retained in memory (and thus more likely to be recalled at a later time) than information that is less congruent ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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