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Chapter 4: Attitudes. Attitudes u Evaluations of any aspect of our social world. u Automobiles u Abortion u President Bush.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 4: Attitudes. Attitudes u Evaluations of any aspect of our social world. u Automobiles u Abortion u President Bush."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 4: Attitudes

2 Attitudes u Evaluations of any aspect of our social world. u Automobiles u Abortion u President Bush

3 Why Study Attitudes? Attitudes are important because they: u strongly influence our social thought u help to organize and evaluate stimuli (e.g., categorizing stimuli as positive or negative) u presumably have a strong affect on behavior u help to predict people’s behavior in wide range of contexts (e.g., voting, interpersonal relations) 4.5Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

4 Attitudes u How are attitudes formed? u Do attitudes influence behavior? u How are messages persuasive? u Can our behavior influence our attitudes? 4.4Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

5 Attitude Structure Affect Behavior Cognition Gun Control Affect: “Guns make me sick!” Behavior: “I vote for gun control whenever possible.” Cognition: “Guns in the house increase the likelihood of children accidentally shooting themselves.”

6 Attitude Formation u social learning- acquire attitudes from others u classical conditioning- learning based on association u subliminal conditioning- without awareness u instrumental conditioning- learn to hold the “right” views u observational learning- learning by observing actions of others and exposure to mass media 4.6Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

7 Attitude Formation (con’t) u social comparison- compare ourselves to others to determine if our view of reality is correct u attitudes are shaped by social information from others we like or respect u genetic factors- inherited general dispositions (e.g., see world in a positive or negative light) u highly heritable attitudes and gut-level preferences (music) are especially influenced 4.7Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

8 Summary u Attitudes are evaluations of any aspect of our social world u Attitudes are often learned u Attitudes are also formed through social comparison u New research suggests attitudes are influenced by genetic factors

9 Attitude-Behavior Link u Attitudes do not always predict behavior u LaPiere (1934) found that virtually all businesses served Chinese couple courteously, yet most owners held negative attitudes LaPiere u Sun-worshippers know the dangers of exposure to the sun, yet they tan anyway u “looking good” attitude takes precedence over attitudes toward personal health 4.8Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon Forward

10 LaPiere Study Would you serve Chinese people? Back

11 Moderators of A-B Link u Aspects of the situation u situational constraints (e.g., sparing one’s feelings) may prevent us from expressing our true attitudes u often we choose situations where we can engage in behaviors consistent with our attitudes u Aspects of attitudes u origins- how attitudes were formed u strength- intensity, importance, accessibility u specificity- general vs. specific 4.9Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

12 How Do Attitudes Influence Behavior? u Theory of planned behavior (considered) Theory of planned behavior u intentions are a function of attitudes toward behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control u Attitude-to behavior process model (impulsive) Attitude-to behavior process model u attitudes spontaneously shape our behavior of situation u Prototype/willingness model (risky) Prototype/willingness model u behavior is a function of attitudes toward behavior, subjective norms, behavior intentions, willingness to engage in specific form of behavior, and prototypes 4.10Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

13 Theory of Planned Behavior Attitudes Subjective Norms Perceived Behavioral Control Behavioral Intentions Behavior Back

14 Attitude to Behavior Process Model EventAttitude Perception of Event Social Norms Behavior Back

15 Prototype/Willingness Model Previous Behavior Attitude Behavioral Intentions Behavioral Willingness Subjective Norms Prototype Behavior Back

16 Summary u Several factors moderate the link between attitudes and behaviors. u Situational constraints may prevent us from expressing our attitudes. u We often engage in activities that allow us to express our attitudes. u Attitude formation, attitude strength, and attitude specificity also moderate the A-B link. u Attitudes influence behavior through several mechanisms.

17 Attitude Structure Affect Behavior Cognition Gun Control Affect: “Guns make me sick!” Behavior: “I vote for gun control whenever possible.” Cognition: “Guns in the house increase the likelihood of children accidentally shooting themselves.”

18 Attitude Functions u Knowledge function u attitudes help organize and evaluate information u Self-expression function u attitudes help people express central values or beliefs u Self-esteem function u attitudes help people build and maintain self-esteem

19 Cognitive Approach to Attitude Change u Persuasion u efforts to change attitudes through various kinds of messages. u Early persuasion research focused on: u The communicator (source) u What they said (message) u Who was listening (audience) u Research suggests there are two routes through which information is processed u The Elaboration-Likelihood Model

20 Elaboration-Likelihood Model Message unimportant, uninteresting Heuristic processing Nonverbal cues important Argument strength unimportant Message important, interesting Systematic processing Nonverbal cues unimportant Argument strength important Peripheral Route Central Route

21 Source and Message Characteristics u Important Nonverbal Cues u Credibility u expertise u trustworthiness u Attractiveness u Speaking style u Important Message Characteristics u soft sell is often better than over persuasion u if audience is skeptical- use two-sided message

22 Factors Influencing Information Processing u We tend to use systematic processing when: u we are strongly motivated u accuracy motivation u impression motivation u defensive motivation u we have a high ability to do so u We tend to use heuristic processing when: u we are unmotivated u we lack the ability to systematically process info

23 Is Resistance Futile? Audience Effects u When systematic processing occurs, it is our reaction to the message that counts. - reactance u forewarning- prior knowledge of persuasion u increase arguments for and counterarguments against u selective avoidance- avoid contradictory info. u channel surf, tune out certain info. u biased assimilation- perceive information that disconfirms our views as unreliable u attitude polarization- interpret mixed evidence in ways that strengthen existing views

24 Summary: ELM Analytical & Motivated High effort Elaborate Agree Counter- argue Strong arguments cause enduring agreement Not analytical or involved Low effort: Use peripheral cues, heuristics Cues trigger liking & acceptance Persuasive Appeal Response AudienceProcessingPersuasion Central Route Peripheral Route

25 Behavioral Approach to Attitude Change Cognitive Dissonance- unpleasant state resulting from inconsistency between attitudes and behavior u Dissonance can occur in a number of ways u Selecting between two reasonably attractive alternatives Selecting between two reasonably attractive alternatives u Lying (Engaging in counterattitudinal behavior) Lying (Engaging in counterattitudinal behavior) 4.15Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

26 Back

27 $20 Told next person tasks were fun and interesting $1 Boring Tasks Told next person tasks were fun and interesting Asked how much they enjoyed experiment Induced Compliance Study

28 Festinger & Carlsmith Study Results

29 Reducing Cognitive Dissonance u Ways to reduce dissonance (e.g., “dieter binges”) u Direct methods u change attitude to be consistent with behavior u “diets don’t really work anyway” u acquire supporting information u “many overweight people live long healthy lives” u trivialize the behaviors in question u “looking thin is not all that important” u Indirect methods u restore positive self-evaluations u “I like the way I look, regardless of my weight” u distractions

30 Affective Approach to Attitude Change u Inducing fear - works best when you also offer advice or coping strategy (how to avoid danger) u cigarette smoking u condom usage u drinking and driving u Inducing good feelings u enhance positive thinking u unhappy people think more before making decisions u “rose colored glasses” u associate message with good feelings


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