Types of Perception: Positive & Negative Perception


Perception theories can be broadly classified into two categories: positive perception and negative perception. 

Positive perception theories focus on how individuals perceive and process positive stimuli, such as positive events, emotions, or experiences. These theories suggest that positive perceptions can have a positive impact on well-being, self-esteem, and overall mental health. For example, the three-dimensional model of positive perception (PP) proposed by Plys and Desrichard (2020) suggests that positive perception is influenced by positive affect, optimism, and goal attainability[3]. 

Negative perception theories, on the other hand, focus on how individuals perceive and process negative stimuli, such as negative events, emotions, or experiences. These theories suggest that negative perceptions can have a negative impact on well-being, self-esteem, and overall mental health. For example, perceptual negativity theory proposes that individuals who perceive negative events as larger in font size than neutral events are more likely to exhibit a negativity bias, which can lead to increased reactivity to negative events[1]. 

In terms of individual differences in perception, attributional style theory suggests that people tend to make different types of attributions for negative events, which can influence their reactions and overall well-being. For example, people with a negative attributional style tend to explain negative events by referring to their own internal, stable, and global qualities, which can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair[4]. 

Overall, both positive and negative perception theories are important in understanding how individuals perceive and process different types of stimuli, and how these perceptions can influence their well-being and mental health. 


[1] Veltkamp, A., Aarts, H., & Custers, R. (2008). Perceptual negativity predicts greater reactivity to negative events in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(1), 79-98.

[3] Plys, E., & Desrichard, O. (2020). Associations between positive and negative affect and the way people perceive their health goals. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 334.

[4] Joiner, T. E., Hardin, M. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (1993). The role of attributional style in the prediction of suicidal behavior. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 102(4), 594-604.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806505/

[2] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310832124_Perception_Theories

[3] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886912004242

[4] https://opentextbc.ca/socialpsychology/chapter/individual-and-cultural-differences-in-person-perception/

[5] https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00334/full

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