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Prejudgment is the process of making premature conclusions or reaching decisions without having all the necessary evidence to aid in decision-making. This gives space for making wrong decisions or not taking into perspective other aspects of the problem or situation to make informed judgment. Judgment is the process of making decisions or coming up with certain conclusion given a particular aspect. Decisions made affect relations and the ability of the individual to relate with others as well as achievement of a person’s goals. The main effect of prejudgment is reaching decisions that do not reflect the situation or not encompassing all the factors on consideration to make the decision effective in meeting the required objectives. This paper aims at analyzing prejudgment and the way that it affects activities and actions of individual’s in the community. Analysis of prejudgment, in this paper, is done though introduction of the concept, evaluating the causes and effects and providing solutions to prejudgment as well as an application. The main reason for the study is that it helps get a better understanding of the reasons, causes, and solutions to prejudgment among individuals.
Prejudgment is an automatic process formed from the first impression of other people and is an unconscious happening, which a person may not have a control over. Due to the unconscious nature of prejudgment, the control of prejudgment requires a great deal of attention and skill to be able to master good communication and decision making that is unaffected by prejudgment of other people’s opinions, actions or information delivery. Prejudgments are caused by various reasons, which include previous experiences, needs, and aspirations, and the context within which meeting a certain person happens because views and opinions of the person are unconsciously made.
2.0 Occurrence of prejudgment
Prejudgment occurs due to various reasons and others may not be within the control of the person. Some of the ways through which prejudgment occur in the course of present day communication are given in this section of the paper. Prejudgment occurs in a situation where a person has certain opinions about a given topic and may not be in a position to accept a different opinion, hence does not give the speaker the required attention. Prejudgment affects the ability of the individual of getting different perspectives on issues apart from a preconceived opinion. This difference in perspective and new concepts may limit access of new information for the improvement of the previous perspective or the formation of a modified objective to aid in the improvement of the general knowledge on a particular concept. It is, therefore, important to avoid prejudgment even though one has a certain opinion on a concept or point of view. Keeping an open mind in this situation makes the person access new information and achieve better understanding of the concept; hence, prejudgment affects improvement in the persons association and development.
Prejudgment also occurs when assumptions of knowledge on other people’s feelings, thoughts, and what they want to say are made. This forms a barrier between the sender of information and the receiver of the information in the communication process. The conceived ideas in our minds on the thoughts and actions of the individuals may be misrepresented due to differences in context or situation. The effect of this preconceived notions of the persons thoughts and actions affect the effectiveness of the communication between the two individuals. The effects range from being unable to get information as intended by the sender, disregard of the individual view or opinion due to the formation of the prejudgment. It also leads to misunderstanding of the other person due to the lack of attention to listen to their terms and understand their view on the subject of discussion. It can also deprive the sender of information to that can be disastrous in the achievement of organizational or personal goals.
Prejudgment may also arise due to the fear or rejection by a certain person, hence the need to ensure they form opinions or answers that relate to the situation. This gives a predetermined opinion of the communicator; hence make the communication ineffective due to prejudgment.
3.0 Effects of Prejudgment
- a. Ineffective Communication
Prejudgment mainly affects the communication process since its conception mainly happens in the process of communication between individuals. Prejudgment affects the effectiveness of communication in various ways because of the conceptions made by the receiver due to the prejudgment made of the sender of information. The main ways prejudgment affect communication include where one switches off the speaker due to the prejudgment that the sender does not have important information. The main reason that causes this kind of prejudgment is whereby the individuals sending the information may have not been effective in the past in giving fruitful information or the information given was not of benefit. the individual gives no chance to the sender to complete the communication. A risk posed by this kind of prejudgment is that the receiver may not be able to get important information that may have been effective in the solving of the problem or making an important decision for the benefit of both parties. Prejudgment occurs when a doctor decides to interrupt a patient’s explanation of their medical situation and in the process missing important deals that would have been important in the making of effective diagnosis of the patients.
- b. Limits Perception
First impressions are less effective in having a complete perception of the person. The main reason for lack of complete perception is the simplification and elimination of information received by the reception stimuli. Eyes, ears, and skin receive various stimuli that may vary which are received by the nervous system and undergo elimination based on dominance and simplification to form an impression of the perception. Messages having variation with the dominant message are eliminated to make way for the formation of a consistent conclusion form the different stimuli This simplification and elimination leads to the having of a limited perception hence a prejudgment of the person.
- c. Expectation Generalization
Instances of new environments lead to the making of generalized perceptions or conclusions based on previous experiences by the brain. The generalization of a given situation may not be the exact of the given situation in reality; hence, the perception made differs forming a prejudgment. This prejudgment affects the ability to be able to make correct judgment without relying on the generalization made beforehand. The main reasons for this happening is lack of checking the perceptions that underlie making of certain conclusion sin a certain point before generalizing conclusions, which form the basis to the making of judgments.
- d. Perceptual accentuation
This occurs where an individual makes judgment based on the expectations and wants that one has conceived. The perception tends to favor the direction of the wants and expectations of the person. This leads to different perception of the persona, hence making a prejudgment that favors ones needs but could be wrong due to the lack of evidence to make an informed decision on the situation. This ultimately affects the judgments made by the person; hence, prejudgment have a great impact on one’s relation when expectations, wants, and needs are incorporated in the process of making judgments.
- e. Hurts relations
Lack of good communication skills due to the presence of prejudgment has the effect of hurting relations between persons. Prejudgments make a person irresponsive to other people’s ideas and affect effective group discussions, which may lead to resentment from the other people. This will eventually affect the relationship between the parties due to the lack of effective communication. Prejudgment also gives a perception of rudeness of the person to the persons in the receiving end due to the lack of chance to give their opinion of piece of mind. This affects the relations between the communicating partners and may affect the relations between the parties.
- f. Reduces room for personal Improvement
Prejudgments makes one have a certain opinion or idea and lack of ability to accept new ideas or information by thinking or having a notion of the opinion of others reduces chances of personal improvement. Not giving other people the chance to speak their minds due to prejudgment leads to inability to gain new knowledge or exchange ideas. This makes the person stagnant in the acquisition of knowledge and personal development.
4.0 Correcting prejudgment
- a. Removing of the assumptions
Assumptions made in the process of conceiving a certain perception of a person determine the judgment of the person or situation. The relation between a person and previous experiences or resemblance of the person to others affects our perception, hence prejudgment. There is therefore need to ensure the assumptions that relate to previous experience are avoided to avoid prejudgment.
- b. Have an open mind
Despite having an opinion on the topic of discussion, it is necessary to have an open mind and be receptive to new ideas by giving the speaker attention and time. This will allow the formation of different views and reduces the chances of locking out the other person due to prejudgment. This will ultimately improve the communication effectiveness between people and aid in gaining extra information on the topic.
- c. Sharing Past impressions
Another solution to prejudgment is through reaching out to the persons in the communication and clearing the first impressions to enable correct impressions. The main reason for this solution is that it aids in having correct impressions of people as this affects the ability to judge correctly and make informed judgment instead of making prejudgment. It also aids in the understanding of the real ability of the person and value, hence avoid closed minds and switching off the person in the conversation. This eventually leads to the reduction and elimination of prejudgment in a given communication.
- d. Avoid Generalization
The other way prejudgment can be eliminated in the process of communication is through avoidance of generalizations of similar circumstances. Communication channels and instances may be similar but the premise of the communication differs, hence the need to avoid the generalization of the circumstances to previous experiences. This means giving the person an opportunity to present their views and ideas worth an open mind and generate effective answers or suggestions without the influence of previous situations or communication.
- Construction of new attitudes
Construction of new attitudes and perceptions of people aids in the reduction of prejudgment through ensuring attitudes on the people are aimed at best interests of the people in the communication. This will result in the ability to have constructive discussions and the development of a clear perspective on new insights and knowledge, which improve the ability to avoid prejudgment in the course of communication.
5.0 Application to prejudgment
Prejudgment mainly applies to enforcement of law and order in making of judgment by the jury. There has to be a way for the avoidance of prejudgment by the jury in order to make informed and impartial judgment. There is, therefore, a need to ensure reduction in chances that may lead to prejudgment in the course of trials to allow the formation of impartial and clear judgment without influence of prejudgment. Fair trials therefore, can be staged where there is lack of prejudgment in the course of justice dispensation.
Prejudgment forms a part of everyday communication and mainly begins with the first impression of the person. The main causes of prejudgment are generalizations, assumptions, close mindedness, and the fear of rejection. Prejudgment has a number of effects like ineffective communication, hurts relations, and limits perception. reduced personal development, perceptual accentuation and generalization of expectations. There are various ways through which prejudgment can be avoided or reduced and include avoiding generalizations. being open minded, construction of new attitudes and clarification of first impressions. Prejudgments have a great effect on relations between individuals and affect the ability of a person to relate to other people. The main area of application of prejudgment is in the enforcement of justice in the courts of law. Prejudgment, therefore, forms one of the main barriers of effective communication and personal development barriers. There is, therefore, a need to practice ways of reducing or elimination of prejudgment as it influences the way one develops or communicates with other people in the community.