In the “Guidelines for Improving Skill in Perceiving” section of our textbook, the four ways of improving your skills in perceiving are listed as avoiding mind reading, checking perceptions with others, distinguishing facts from inferences and judgments and monitoring the self-serving bias. Mind reading is when we place assumptions on how another person feels. Assuming someone is mad at you because they declined an invitation to your party would be an example of mind reading. There may be other factors at play than anger, such as other obligations or illness, so it is wrong to simply assume that the person is mad. Checking perceptions with others means verifying your assumptions or disproving your assumptions by asking the person rather than keeping quiet and assuming that you know what they are thinking. Distinguishing facts from inferences and judgments means realizing that facts are based on proof, such as, Sheila has blonde hair. Inferences and judgments are based on assumptions or stereotypes, such as, Sheila is a dumb blonde. The assumption that Sheila is dumb is not founded simply because of the fact that she has blonde hair. The self-serving bias is defined in our textbook as the inclination to “attribute our positive actions and our successes to internal and stable factors” and also “to avoid taking responsibility for negative actions and failures and instead attribute them to external and unstable events that are beyond personal control.” Monitoring the self-serving bias requires us to be aware of placing blame where we should not. Saying that you failed a test because the teacher does not like you and judged you harshly may be masking the actuality that you did not study as much as you should have for that test. The perception skill that I need to work on most is avoiding mind reading. I often think that on a Friday night if my phone does not ring that no one wants to hang out with me. A few times I sat at home and sulked and pitied myself. There were other times when I picked up the phone and called my friends. I found out that my one friend did not call because he had no money to go out so I invited him over and we hung out at my house and had other people in. I think mind reading comes from our fears a lot of the time. I am always afraid that I am not good enough, be it in school, work or socially. When you actually apply the skill of checking your perceptions, you may find out that you were completely wrong in your assumptions. That is something I hope to keep in the front of my mind when I am feeling down.