Behaviour and Attitudes

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					Behaviour and Attitudes
        The Nature of Attitudes
An attitude is a person’s evaluation, positive
  or negative, of a person, object, or idea.

All attitudes have affective, cognitive, and
  behavioural components.
    Where do Attitudes Come From? Cognitive
   Cognitively based attitudes are based
    primarily on a person’s beliefs about the
    properties of the attitude object.
    Where do Attitudes Come From? Affective
   Affectively based attitudes are based more on
    people’s feelings and values pertaining to the
    attitude object.
  Where do Attitudes Come From? Affective

• Affectively based
  attitudes come from
  a variety of sources:
   Values
   Sensory reactions
   Conditioning (both
    classical and
    Where do Attitudes Come From? Behavioural
   Behavioural based attitudes are based on
    observations of how you behave toward an
    attitude object.

      Self-Perception Theory
           Initial attitude must be weak
           Attitudes are inferred from behaviour only when there are no
            other plausible explanations for behaviour

     Where do Attitudes Come From?
• Different attitudes have different bases:

   Attitudes towards different social groups we
    dislike are likely to have a cognitive basis

   Attitudes towards groups whom we like are
    more likely to based on affect.

   Attitudes toward social issues (e.g., abortion,
    capital punishment) also are more likely to be
    based on affect
             Attitude Strength
   There are four major determinants of attitude

 Ambivalence
 Accessibility
 Subjective experiences
 Autobiographical recall
  Do Attitudes Predict Behaviour?
 Some research has shown that there is not a
  direct relationship between attitudes and

 A early review of studies of attitude-behaviour
  relationship concluded that people’s attitudes are
  poor predictors of their behaviour.

 However, later research indicated that attitudes
  can predict behaviour quite well under certain
               Spontaneous Behaviour

   When we act spontaneously, we rely on
    accessibility of attitudes to guide us.
       highly accessible attitudes
    –     predict behaviour quite well
       If the attitudes are not highly
    –     accessible, arbitrary aspects
    –     of the situation will tend to
    –     determine behaviour.
            Deliberative Behaviour

• Ajzen & Fishbein’s Theory of Planned Behaviour

   Specific attitudes are better predictors of behaviour
    than are general attitudes

   Subjective norms: people’s beliefs about how those
    they care about will view the behaviour in question

   Perceived behavioural control: refers to the extent to
    which people believe they can perform the behaviour
         Deliberative Behaviour

 Fishbein and Ajzen’s theory has also been
  useful in predicting :
  -smoking among Quebec high school
• -exercise among Albertans being treated for
• -exercise for the elderly.
  Attitudes and Attitude Change

• Persuasion
Was song so song?
        Two Routes to Persuasion:
     The Elaboration Likelihood Model

• Central Route
        process by which a person thinks carefully
        about a communication and is influenced by
        the strength of its arguments
• Peripheral Route
      The process by which a person does not
      think carefully about a communication
      and is influenced by superficial cues
      Early work on persuasion
• McGuire’s (1969) information processing steps
• Greenwald (1968) added a third step:
         3.elaboration - the process of thinking about and
           scrutinizing arguments
The Central Route
       The Peripheral Route
People often evaluate a communication using
   more arguments
   audience support
            Route Selection

• Involves 3
      1. source
      2. message
      3. audience
                The Source

• Credibility
• For communicators to be seen as credible,
  they must have 2 characteristics:
                   The Source
• Likeability
• For communicators to be seen as likable, two
  factors come into play:
         2.physical attractiveness
         Source or Message?
• Depends on:
     – level of involvement
     – passage of time
           The Sleeper Effect
• The sleeper effect - sometimes a delay leads
  to an increase in the persuasive impact of a
  noncredible source.
                 The Message

• Informational Strategies
• Should the message be:
      – long or short?
      – one-sided or two-sided?
      – presented first or last?
              The Message

• Presenting first may lead to a primacy effect,
  but presenting last may lead to a recency
              The Message
• How discrepant should a message be from the
  audience’s existing position in order to have
  an impact?
              The Message

• Does fear increase persuasion?
              The Message
• What is the impact of mood?
                 The Message

• Subliminal Messages
                 The Audience

• The impact of a message is influenced by:
               The Audience
• Personality
• The Need for Cognition (NC)
      – a personality variable that distinguishes
        people on the basis of how much they enjoy
        effortful cognitive activities.
             The Audience

• Self-Monitoring
      – the tendency to
       regulate behaviour
       to meet the
       demands of the
       social situation
              The Audience

• Forewarning and Resistance
  – Inoculation
   • presenting people with a weak version of a
   persuasive argument increases resistance against
   that argument
   • Reactance
   • If we think someone is trying to persuade us, we
   will be less likely to be persauded
   Persuasion by Our Own Actions

 • Cognitive dissonance theory revisited
                                        AND LEVY (1965)
  Persuasion by Our Own Actions
• Dissonance Reduction
• Dissonance can be reduced in three ways:
  changing our behaviour
  our behaviour through changing one of the
  dissonant cognitions
  by attempting to justify our behaviour by
  adding new cognitions
  Persuasion by Our Own Actions
• Dissonance and Decisions
  Following a decision we rate the chosen
  alternative even more positively than we did
  initially, and the non-chosen alternative more
  negatively than initially

                   BREHM (1956)
  Persuasion by Our Own Actions
• The Justification of Effort
  The tendency for individuals to increase their
  liking for something they have worked hard to
 Persuasion by Our Own Actions

• Avoiding the Rationalization Trap
  Rationalization trap - reducing dissonance
  through derogation of victims can lead to a
  continuation, or escalation of violence against
  Persuasion by Our Own Actions
• An Extreme Example of Cognitive Dissonance
  How could intelligent people allow themselves
  to be led by cult leaders into senseless and
  tragic behaviour resulting in mass
     Becoming a Cult Leader
Create your own social reality
Create a granfallon
Generate commitment though dissonance
Establish the leader’s credibility and
    Becoming a Cult Leader

Send members to
proselytize the
Distract members
from thinking
undesirable thoughts
Fixate members’
vision on a phantom
            Evaluating Cults
Are alternatives being provided or taken
Is access to new or different information being
broadened or denied
Does the individual assume personal
responsibility and control or is it usurped by
the group/leader?

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