Symbolic Perception Transformation and Interpretation: The Role and Its Impact on Social Narratives and Social Behaviours

Author: Stephen T. F. Poon, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation, Malaysia
Published: March 08, 2018

Citation: Poon, S. T. F. (2018). Symbolic Perception Transformation and Interpretation: The Role and Its Impact on Social Narratives and Social Behaviours. IAFOR Journal of the Social Sciences, 3(1).


The primary purpose of this investigation is to inform how indigenous symbols are incorporated into meaning making of social narratives, and the impact of misappropriation, misuse and misinterpretation of symbols with their original intentions. Literatures discussing the process of symbolism perception transformation capacities are reviewed, to present relevant theories and review the consequences of wrongful usage, to understand the unconscious effects of symbols on social construction of behaviours. Perspectives about meaning-making processes and symbolic perception transformation provide insights about the dynamics of symbols’ usage for individuals and groups in contemporary society and the impact of conscious and subconscious appropriation in the context of social behaviours. To seek in-depth understanding of the subject, qualitative methodology was applied for this study through interviews with Malaysian educators to uncover the nature and extent of symbolism’s influences on societal behaviours. Interviews revealed issues relating the role of symbols’ interpretative difficulties to cultural and social narratives, and in the appropriation of significant signs for psychological impact, aesthetic value, and propaganda purposes. Findings suggest the capabilities of symbols to unite and inform about the origins of humankind have weakened, in terms of their representational roles in the evolution of cultures, and their capacity to invoke social identity and change. In conclusion, recommendations are given on ways to enhance the perception transformation through the educator’s role in creating accurate symbolism perception, interpretation and universal standards.


symbol, meaning making, social construction, narrative, perception transformation