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A person’s behaviour and personality are the only windows through which the outside world can peek in and develop their own perceptions of that person. How a person is perceived is dependent on the common knowledge of the people who have witnessed their behaviour in various situations. Now, for someone in the same profession and as much in the public eye as Salman Khan, it’s important to maintain a charming persona that seldom tells the complete story concerning their personality. It’s a false projection; a “curtained window” if you will. To really understand someone we have to delve deeper, collect facts, research their history and observe their behaviour over time and that’s what the objective of our group study has been.
Salman Khan’s case is a rather compelling one. There have been numerous controversies, reports of ill conduct and illicit activities including the Arms Act case (1998), Chinkara and Blackbuck poaching cases (1998), hit-and-run case (2002) against Salman. There have been three cases regarding poaching against him which have led to him serving time behind bars twice. He was officially charged with culpable homicide for the hit-and-run case and was found guilty. A number of actresses (read: Aishwarya Rai) have accused him of harassing them, actor Vivek Oberoi has been in a public feud with Salman Khan and has publicly spoken up about Salman threatening him. In spite of these and numerous other controversies, Salman Khan remains, although polarizing, a massively popular personality with a huge fan base. Let’s get into the how and the why.
When you’re a movie star, the face of India’s Hindi movie industry and an icon, people treat you like you’re some kind of god. Don’t get me wrong, there are people who understand that putting someone on a pedestal, completely ignoring the crimes they’ve committed in the past is wrong, but those people are few in comparison. Before we get any further into “how”, let’s look into “why”. Essentially, for any single person to be as liked by the public, they have to have certain positive personality traits like charisma, compassion and generousity. Salman bears these traits
And has put these traits on public display time after time. There is an endless list of times he has provided a helping hand to the unfortunate. Financially and sympathetically, he has been there for struggling fans, impoverished children and has spent millions in aiding people in need. By coupling these personality traits with the perceptual biases that people make in judging a person, we have the answer to why Salman Khan is as effective as he is in his public life.
A vast majority of public remains untrained in the art of perception due to lack of basic education in the field of psychology. For humans, interaction has long been a social construct and a very big part of human interaction is mental. Finding out the real underlying motive of a conversation, reading the physical aspect of personality, paying attention to the language used, these are tools one has to learn to master in order to be effective while interacting and making life itself easier for oneself. Salman Khan, owing to his positive public persona has flourished and this persona is where people make perceptual errors in judging him. Looking at fans’ interviews at public gatherings perceptual errors like Halo effect, Recency effect, Stereotyping and Perceptual defense are very obviously present. It almost seems like some people mindlessly follow, almost worship Salman because he’s a good actor. This also provides us an insight into the personality of these mindless followers. They tend to have an external locus of control, agreeableness etc.
Salman Khan’s effective public life exists not only because of his personality traits, but also because of underlying reasons like other people’s personality traits and the perceptual errors they make in judging Salman Khan due to lack of effective basic training about human interaction. Salman Khan cannot be judged only by the crimes he has committed, the mistakes he has made or only by the good deeds he has done. When we analyze his personality and behaviour, our thought process must work to cover every single aspect, be it positive or negative, to make a proper judgement. He only shows the part of his personality he thinks is desirable.
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