A perceptual set is an individual's predisposition to respond to particular events in a particular manner. A perceptual set is also known as a mental set. As we tend to perceive what we expect to perceive, this can also be called our perceptual expectations.

Buchanan & Huczynski, Organizational Behaviour (1997)

People can perceive exactly the same thing in different ways. The sum of a person's view of their social, physical and organizational environment is their perceptual world. This also affects the way we see other people:
  • The halo effect is how the first impression of a person affects later dealings with that person. A positive halo makes the person seem "better"; a negative halo does the opposite.
  • A stereotype is a category to which we consign people based on (presumed) membership in a group. Racism and sexism are examples of stereotypes.
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Buchanan, David and Andrzej Huczynski. Organizational Behaviour, pp. 55-65.

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