Social Psychology by nyut545e2


									    Social Psychology
Lecture 1: Attitudes (Chapter 5; Hogg & Vaughan)
At the end of the lecture …

• „„How is attitude formation
  considered/conceptualised within Social

•   Structure and function of attitudes
•   Forming attitudes
•   Concepts related to attitudes
•   Attitudes in terms of behaviour?
Structure and function of attitudes

                  ONE, TWO OR THREE

• There are a number of different views about what an
  attitude is:
   – an affective orientation toward, or evaluation of, an
     attitude object (one-component model, socio-
     cognitive model); (Feeling)
   – a mental readiness to act and a guide for how to
     respond and guides our evaluations (two-
     component model); (Thought and feeling)
   – or a combination of information about, and feelings
     and behavioural intentions toward, an object (three-
     component model). (Though, Feeling and
Structure and function of attitudes

• The three-component model is probably most
  popular. Generally, attitudes are useful because they
  are enduring and they provide a cognitive and
  affective orientation toward objects and thus help us
  pursue goal-directed thought and action.
Function of Attitudes
• Katz (1960)
  – Knowledge
  – Instrumentality (means to an end or a goal)
  – Ego-defense (protects ones own self-
  – Value-expressiveness (allow people to
    display those values that uniquely identify
    and define them).
Structure and function of attitudes
• According to cognitive consistency
  theories, our attitudes should be
  relatively congruent with one another
  because we seek consistency among
  our cognitions.
• Specifically, we seek balance between
  how we feel about an object, how
  someone else feels about an object, and
  how we feel about that other person
  (balance theory). Heider‟s theory of
  attitude change
• If you and I like apples, it would be
  unbalanced if I did not like you.
Examples of balanced and unbalanced triads from Heider‟s
theory of attitude change
 Attitudes: Cognition and Evaluation
• Pratkanis and Greenwald‟s sociocognitive
• Attitude is represented by
   – An object label and the rules for applying that
   – An evaluative summary of that object, and
   – A knowledge structure supporting that
• E.g. Shark
   – Big Fish with large teeth (label)
   – Is frightening and best avoided when
     swimming (evaluative)
   – Well-documented threat to our physical well-
     being (knowledge structure)
Figure 5.2      The sociocognitive model of attitude structure and function
Source: Based on Pratkanis & Greenwald (1989)
 Forming attitudes
• Attitude formation can rest on direct experience with
  the attitude object; mere exposure to an object can
  influence how much we like or dislike it and thus our
  attitude toward it (Zajonc,1968).
• We can also acquire positive or negative attitudes
  toward an object by direct reinforcement or
  punishment associated with the object, or by
  observing someone else being rewarded or
   – Classical Conditioning: Attitudes paired with positive or negative
   – Spreading Attitude effect: Ripple effect of meeting different
   – Instrumental Conditioning: Positive consequences more likely to
     be repeated, while negative effect are not.
   – Observational Learning: Rewards and Punishment and
 Forming attitudes
• Another way to acquire an attitude is by observing our
  own behaviour and making an internal attribution of
  the behaviour to one‟s self (one‟s attitude) if there are
  no obvious external causes for the behaviour (self-
  perception theory).
• Acquire knowledge about the person you are and
  therefore your attitude
• “Why did I do that?”
• If you go shopping a lot, it must be because you like
Forming attitudes
• Through whatever process we form an
  attitude, one of the most important sources of
  enduring attitudes is our parents, and later our
  peer groups.
   – Parents
   – Teachers
   – Friends
   – Mass Media
 Concepts related to attitudes
• Values are higher-level constructs that often subsume and
  organize specific attitudes. Values can be differentiated into
  those that concern end states (e.g., freedom, equality) and
  those that are more instrumental (e.g., honesty, tradition).
• Allport
   – Theoretical: Interest in problem solving/how things work?
   – Economic: An interest in economic matters such as
     finance and money
   – Aesthetic: An interest in the arts, theatre, music etc
   – Social: A concern for others, interest in social welfare
   – Political: An interest in politics
   – Religious: Interest in theology.
• Rokeach
   – Terminal Values: Broad values that have control over
     specific value: (e.g. Equality, Freedom)
   – Instrumental Values: Motivations that may influence
     specific attitudes (honesty and ambition).
Concepts related to attitudes
• Ideologies are similar to values but
  go further insofar as they are usually
  associated with, and sometimes
  define, membership in particular
  groups. Ideologies also serve to justify
  relations between groups (they are
  system-justifying or hierarchy-
  enhancing), or to challenge the status
  quo and energize social change
  (radical ideologies).
• Explanatory function (Thompson,
  1990). Ideologies can be used to
  explain events that influence attitudes.
• Every thinking and attitudes
  influenced by ideological dilemmas
  (Billig, 1991)
 Concepts related to attitudes
• The third construct that is related to attitudes is
  social representations. Social
  representations are explanatory belief systems
  that simplify complex or distressing
  phenomena and make them easily understood
  by ordinary people.
• They are developed through informal,
  interindividual communication and become
  consensual within communities or groups.
• From an attitudinal perspective, this is an
  important point, that is, attitudes are framed
  by, and embedded within, wider
  representational structures, which are in turn
  grounded in social groups. In this area,
  attitudes are socially constructed, reflecting
  society or groups in which people live their
Can attitudes predict behaviour?
• The utility of attitudes, both theoretically and
  practically, rests largely on how much
  people‟s attitudes influence their behaviour.
• It is only possible to predict behaviour from
  attitudes if the attitude is very specific and is
  oriented toward an intention to behave in a
  certain way.
• Examples of studies, i.e. drink or ethnic
  tolerance, small correlation between what
  people report and what they do (Gregson &
  Stacey, 1981; La Piere).
• General attitudes are very poor predictors of
  specific behaviours but can predict an
  average of a wider range of behaviours
  (multiple-act criterion).
Can attitudes predict behaviour?
• The two main theories of attitude-behaviour
  relations are:
• (a) the theory of reasoned action (people
  behave in line with their attitudes if they have
  a favourable attitude and there is general
  social support for the behaviour), and
• (b) the theory of planned behaviour, which
  added that people also need to feel that
  performance of the behaviour is under their
  control. When these conditions are met,
  people‟s behavioural intentions (and to a
  lesser extent their actual behaviour) can be
  quite well predicted.
• The theory of planned behavior holds that
  human action is guided by three kinds of
  – Beliefs about the likely outcomes of the behavior
    and the evaluations of these outcomes (behavioral
    beliefs or Attitudes)
  – Beliefs about the normative expectations of others
    and motivation to comply with these expectations
    (normative beliefs/Subjective Norm)
  – Beliefs about the presence of factors that may
    facilitate or impede performance of the behavior
    and the perceived power of these factors (control
    beliefs/Perceived Behavioural Control).
       A comparison of the theory of reasoned action (TRA) and the theory of
Figure 5.3
planned behaviour (TPB)
Source: Based on Ajzen & Fishbein (1980); Madden, Ellen & Ajzen (1992)
• Working hard for a Social Psychology
  – Beliefs/Attitudes about the likely outcomes of the
    behavior and the evaluations of these outcomes
     • Do you think that working hard for a Social Psychology
       Exam is important
  – Beliefs about the normative expectations of others
    and motivation to comply with these expectations
    (normative beliefs)
     • What do your friends/parents think?
  – Beliefs about the presence of factors that may
    facilitate or impede performance of the behavior
    and the perceived power of these factors (control
     • Are you actually able to spend time working hard?
Applied Context: Reasoned action, planned behaviour

• Pick one of the following behaviours, what could
  be an attitude, subjective norm and perceived
  behavioural control?
   –   Drivers‟ compliance with speed limits
   –   Sexual Practices: Condom Use
   –   Smoking Cessation
   –   Healthy Eating
   –   Physical Activity
   –   Weight Loss
   –   Recycling Behaviour
Advice on Revision
• Example Question „How is attitude
  formation considered within Social
• In your reading of the chapter, take a
  critical approach. Show an understanding
  of the evidence, but also those areas of
  the reading that notes of caution can be
• When studying attitude formation try to
  make the distinction between behavioural
  (learning of attitudes) and which are
  cognitive (information processing and
• Also consider how attitude formation is
  part of a wider models of attitude and
End of the lecture …

• Structure and function of attitudes
• That is how they are formed or how
  they fit in (i.e. Theory of Planned
• Forming attitudes
• Concepts/Theories surrounding

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