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Attitudes

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					                                             Attitudes
Attitude
•   Any cognitive representation that summarizes our evaluations of an attitude object
•   ABC’s of attitudes:
       Affect
       Behavioral
       Cognitive

Attitude Formation
1. Classical conditioning: you come to associate things that occur together
2. Operant conditioning: the effects of reinforcement and punishment
3. Observational learning: the effects of watching a model on one’s behavior

Why Do Attitudes Form?
•   Serve various functions
    1. Ego-defensive: a protective function
    2. Knowledge function: make sense of the world
    3. Value-expressive function: express our true self, underlying values, and personality
    4. Social-adjustive function: allows individuals to fit in with their various social groups

Attitudes Predicting Behavior
•   Fishbein and Ajzen (1977)
•   The primary cause of behavior is not necessarily the attitude one has toward the behavior, but
    rather one’s intention to engage in that behavior
•   Intention based on the subjective norms surrounding that behavior

        How do I feel
        about smoking?


                                        What is the chance                    Smoke
                                        I’ll smoke                            or Not


        How do my peers feel
        about smoking?

Attitudes Predicting Behavior
•   Explains simple behaviors we are all capable of
•   What about behaviors that are not completely voluntary?
•   Theory of Planned Behavior
•   Addresses a person’s ability to get the resources, opportunities, and skills needed to perform
    the behavior
•   Extends theory of reasoned action by adding the component of a person’s perceived
    behavioral control
     – person’s perception of ease or difficulty
•   PROBLEMS:
    1. Spontaneous behavior
    2. Role of habits

Other Factors
1. Time: the longer the time interval, the poorer the relationship
2. Self-awareness: Privately self-aware are more internally focussed; whereas, publicly self-
   aware tend to be more externally focused
        - Froming, Walker, & Lopyan (1982)

Diener and Wallbom
•   Ss asked to complete an anagram test indicative of IQ (test was bogus)
•   Told to stop working after bell rang and left alone
•   Mirror vs. No Mirror
•   Would students cheat by working past the bell?

Other Factors (cont)
3. Attitude strength: Stronger attitudes have more influence on behavior
    – Increase by providing more information
4. Personal involvement: Being personally involved in an issue influences behavior
•    Sivacek & Crano (1982)
5. Direct Experience: Stronger attitudes
•   Regan and Fazio (1977)
     – Housing shortage at Cornell forced 1st year students to several weeks on cots in dormitory
       lounges
     – All students were upset with the housing situation and the administration
How Attitudes Are Changed
•   COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (Festinger, 1957)
•   When our attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors are inconsistent with one another
    – For example, people smoke while believing that smoking causes illness
•   Only important or self-relevant inconsistencies have the potential to arouse dissonance
     – Actions that jeopardize moral integrity or threaten a positive view of the self
•   Motivated to reduce this negative feeling
•   Attitude-Discrepant Behavior
    I’m entering a slogan-writing contest for a brand of cola drink that I dislike
•   Realization of Negative Consequences
    My slogan might cause people to buy this awful stuff
•   Attribution of Personal Responsibility
    I freely chose to enter the contest
•   Experience Physiological Arousal
    I feel tense and upset
•   Attribution of Arousal to Behavior
    I must feel this way because I’m telling people to buy something I hate
•   Dissonance Between Attitude & Behavior
    I hate this cola, yet I am writing a slogan for it that might cause others to buy it
•   Reduce Dissonance via Attitude Change
    Well, the cola isn’t all that bad; in fact, it’s pretty good once you get a taste for it

Festinger (1957): 4 Processing Steps
1. Attitude-discrepant action has negative consequences
2. Person takes responsibility for engaging in behavior
3. Must experience physiological arousal
4. Attribute arousal to the behavior

Aronson and Mills (1959)
•   Ss volunteered to discuss the psychology of sex
•   3 conditions to joining:
     – Read list of obscene words and graphic sexual encounters
     – Read list of mildly sex-related words
     – No initiation
Eliminating the “Sting” of Dissonance
•   Self-Affirmation Theory
    Affirm themselves in another area
•   Dissonance still exists
•   Enhanced self-esteem decreases the “sting” of dissonance
Hypocrisy and Attitude Change
•   Aronson (1992)
     – Carried out at a swimming pool in CA
     – Ss induced to urge other people to take shorter showers during the drought in CA
       OR not
     – Ss reminded that they themselves had been wasteful in the past OR not
Heuristics and Attitude Change
•   Credibility
     – Sleeper Effect
•   Source Attractiveness
     – Physical, Likeability, Similarity
•   Message Length
•   Evidence vs. Vividness

Fear and Attitude Change
Rogers Protection-Motivation Theory
   • Dangers mentioned are serious
   • Dangers are likely
   • Advice to avoiding dangers effective
   • Performing recommended action
Why Does Persuasion Occur?
Elaboration Likelihood Model
       - Petty & Cacioppo
•   Probability of message elaboration
     – Argument strength and quality
     – Central route
•   Unmotivated tend to irrelevant cues
     – Peripheral route
Resisting Persuasion
•   Inoculation
•   Selective Avoidance

				
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