Attitudes and Attitude Theories Importance of attitudes Carl Hovland, founder of the Yale Attitude Research Program, initiated the scientific study of attitudes in the 1940’s “attitudes” occupied the center stage in persuasion research for over 50 years transformed “social studies” into “social sciences” via attitude scales – interval level data amenable to statistical analysis – agree___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ disagree Definition of attitude “a predisposition to respond favorably or unfavorably toward some attitude object” (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) – learned, not innate – precursors of behavior (precede, predict behavior) – evaluative dimension direction of attitude (plus or minus) degree or intensity of attitude – directed toward an “attitude object” Attitudes and persuasion Social scientists seek a “shortcut,” by relying on attitudes to predict behavior – attitude behavior Persuaders seek to alter attitudes, thereby bringing about a corresponding change in behavior – old attitude new attitude new behavior How well attitudes correlate with behavior is known as the “A-B” relationship (or ABC attitude-behavior- correlation) Moderating variables in the A-B relationship attitude salience or centrality specificity of the attitude(s) and behavior(s) social desirability bias self-monitoring activation of relevant attitudes multiple-act criteria (versus one-shot measures) Likert’s “equal appearing interval scales” Patient’s suffering from terminal illnesses should have a constitutional right to assisted suicide. _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ strongly moderately slightly neutral slightly moderately strongly agree agree agree disagree disagree disagree continuum of choices ranging from “strongly agree to “strongly disagree” may consist of 5, 7, 9, or 11 points ambiguity of “neutral” point (don’t know, undecided) variations of Likert scales Semantic Differential scales based upon connotative meanings series of bipolar adjectives (opposites) adjective pairs separated by spaces respondent checks “semantic space” corresponding with his/her attitude dimensions: evaluation, potency, activity specialized semantic differential scales example: McCroskey’s Ethos scale Sarah Palin qualified ___:___:___:___:___:___:___ unqualified poised ___:___:___:___:___:___:___ nervous expert ___:___:___:___:___:___:___ inexpert trustworthy ___:___:___:___:___:___:___ untrustworthy timid ___:___:___:___:___:___:___ bold Visually oriented scales opinion thermometer facial expressions steering wheel pointer advantages of visually oriented attitude measures Problems with attitude scales problem of non- attitudes social desirability bias acquiescence bias issue of “mindfulness” attitudes as associative networks often unconscious, implicit spider web analogy – changes in one cognitive element reverberate throughout the individual’s belief system Example of an associative network contraception school prayer sex education abortion family values family leave premarital sex divorce marital fidelity child support dead-beat dads Creating associations advertising campaigns Drive = love Beer and good times sloganeering – “Breakfast of champions” (Wheaties) – “Be all that you can be” (U.S. Army) – “The ultimate driving machine” (BMW) Food advertising and associations Foods are often advertised as: – promoting good health – substitutes for love – vicarious sex – guilty pleasures – treatment for stress, Yoplait: Food as a guilty anxiety pleasure: "Ooo, this is Day At The Spa Good" "No, this is Foot Massage Hershey’s: food Good" as stress management Ways of creating associations Advertising campaigns – McDonald’s goes urban with the “I’m lovin’ it” campaign – Sprite associates itself with hip-hop urban youth Sponsorship – Stadiums, sporting events – Philanthropic giving Philip Morris’ “social responsibility” campaigns Celebrity endorsers More ways of creating associations Appropriating symbols – “extreme” lifestyle Taco Bell sponsors the X-Games – urban, hip hop culture Reebok “keeps it real” to rake in the “bling bling” – alternative culture Pepsi and iTunes identify with music downloaders Renaming – “pre-owned” versus “used” car – KFC transformed itself into “Kitchen Fresh Chicken” Involvement and participation – Contests, mail-ins, prizes, events Modifying associations: from McDonald’s to Mickey D’s After losing over $200 million in 2002, McDonald's traded in their old "We love to see you smile" slogan for the new, hip, “I’m lovin’ it” campaign the new campaign uses a hip hop theme to target older, urban youths . Link to “I’m Lovin’ It” commercial: http://video.google.com/video play?docid=- 7734402308357651918&q= mcdonald%27s&hl=en Aging icon Ronald Justin Timberlake “gets jiggy” with hip is one of Mickey hop stars D’s new spokespersons Image-based advertising – "In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope." Charles Revson – "An image . . . is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service." Daniel Boorstin – "You now have to decide what 'image' you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place." David Ogilvy Image-based advertising at work A consumer admires a particular image or lifestyle The product is paired with, or associated with, the image or Music downloading lifestyle In time the consumer comes to equate the + + product with image or lifestyle teen consumer ? Pepsi Image-oriented advertising The point of image-oriented advertising is to link products with idealized associations, images, and lifestyles. Schudson (1984) “advertising does not claim to picture reality as it is but Are California cows really happy? reality as it should be--life What about the cows raised in cramped, and lives worth imitating (p. dreary feedlots? 215)." If good cheese comes from happy cows, then does bad cheese come from bored, confined cows? Image-oriented car commercials Advertising associations and women’s bodies Victoria’s Secret Dove’s “Real Beauty” Coors Light Twins campaign Paris Hilton and Carl’s Jr. Does Dove really care about women’s body images? Or is this a clever branding strategy to sell more product? consistency theories l People expect, prefer consistency Cognitive consistency is a state of balance, harmony, among one’s cognitions Individuals strive to maintain, preserve harmony among their beliefs, attitudes, behaviors l Inconsistency causes psychological discomfort, tension “Dissonance” is an uncomfortable mental state. May even be accompanied by physiological symptoms l Individuals are motivated to restore cognitive consistency “Drive-reduction” model Social motivations, e.g., saving face illustration of consistency in action ? favorable attitude + - perceived incompatibility + Parenting and consistency theory A child admires Popeye The child doesn’t like to eat spinach Popeye is positively associated with Spinach This is a cognitively imbalanced state, which should motivate + + the child to change one of the associations - consistent versus inconsistent psychological states balanced (consistent) psychological states + + + - - + - - + - - + imbalanced (inconsistent) psychological states - - - + + - + + - + + - marketing consistency: have your cake and eat it too! Environmentally responsible, socially conscious products – Hybrid cars – Dolphin free tuna – Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – Yoplait and breast cancer research – “Green” mutual funds healthy labels – light, fat-free, carb free, low sodium, all natural, high fiber, low cholesterol Marketing inconsistency Countering brand loyalty – “Think outside the bun” (Taco Bell) – “Think different” (Macintosh) – Carl’s $6.00 burger without the restaurant Countering tradition “Not your father’s Oldsmobile” Buyer’s remorse – Capital One: “What’s in your wallet?” – Hotels. com The key to persuasion Adapt your message to your audience – successful persuasion isn’t so much a matter of shifting receivers’ attitudes over to your position, as it is a matter of adapting your message to the attitudes already held by receivers.
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