You do not live in an unjust world created by others...
For the most part, you live in a world created by your attitude. ~Ken Standley
Perception is how you look at others and the world around you. How you look at the world depends on what you think of yourself.
Self-Perception is the way you see yourself. Most people communicate best with people of similar culture. Your perception and attributions affect the way you communicate.
Each psychological research focused on the experience of consciousness. It took for granted people's abilities to introspect and reflect honestly and accurately. More recently social psyhcologists have observed that we are not "experts on ourselves" at all. On the contrary, we know as little about our true selves as we do about other people, and we must learn about ourselves as we do about others, through trial-and-error, information processing and hypothesis testing.
People decide on their own attitudes and feelings from watching themselves behave in various situations. This is particularly true when internal cues are so weak or confusing they effectively put the person in the same position as an external observer.
Self-Perception Theory provides an alternative explanation for cognitive dissonance effects. Self-perception theory is an account of attitude change developed by psychologist Daryl Bem. It asserts that we only have that knowledge of our own behavior and its causation that another person can have, and that we therefore develop our attitudes by observing our own behavior and concluding what attitudes must have caused them.
Self-perception theory differs from cognitive dissonance theory in that it does not hold that people experience a "negative drive state" called "dissonance" which they seek to relieve. Instead, people simply infer their attitudes from their own behavior in the same way that an outside observer might. In this way it combines dissonance theory with attribution theory.
Bem ran his own version of Festinger and Carlsmith's famous cognitive dissonance experiment. Subjects listened to a tape of a man enthusiastically describing a tedious peg-turning task. Some subjects were told that the man had been paid $20 for his testimonial and another group was told that he was paid $1. Those in the latter condition thought that the man must have enjoyed the task more than those in the $20 condition. Bem argued that the subjects did not judge the man's attitude in terms of cognitive dissonance phenomena, and that therefore any attitude change the man might have had in that situation was the result of the subject's own self-perception.
This indicates how changing people's attitudes happens only when two factors are present:
1. They are aroused, feeling the discomfort of dissonance.
2. They attribute the cause of this to their own behaviors and attitudes.
Also, cognitive dissonance theory cannot explain attitude change that occurs when there is no upsetting dissonance state, such as that which occurred to subjects in studies of the overjustification effect.
Whether cognitive dissonance or self-perception is a more useful theory is a topic of considerable controversy and a large body of literature, with no clear winner. There are some circumstances where either theory is preferred, but it is traditional to use the terminology of cognitive dissonance theory by default.
Self-perception theory has important implications for attitude formation and change. It also explains why people's behaviour is not always consistent or predictable. We may not always "know ourselves" well enough to act in ways that fit in with past behaviours.
If you want someone to believe or feel something about themselves, first get them to do it. This works best when they have no particular view about the area in question. If they already have a strong view, you will need to call the view into doubt, for example by giving disconfirming examples.
On the other hand, when people ask you to do things about which you have no clear view, ask yourself what they could gain by your believing something about yourself in this matter.
Self-interest is but the survival of the animal in us. ~ Frederic Amiel