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Attitude-Behavior Consistency Psychology of Attitudes (PSY320)

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Presentation on theme: "Attitude-Behavior Consistency Psychology of Attitudes (PSY320)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Attitude-Behavior Consistency Psychology of Attitudes (PSY320)

2 Outline Early evidence for lack of consistency –LaPiere –Corey –Wicker's review Improving Attitude-behavior consistency 1.The Principle of Aggregation –Single-act versus Multiple-Act Criteria 2.The Theory of Reasoned Action

3 Outline 3. Theory of Planned behavior –The best predictor of the future is... 4.Attitude Accessibility –The Object-Evaluation Association (Fazio) –Response Latency as an Index of Accessibility 5.Personality Influences

4 Do Attitudes Guide behavior?

5 LaPiere Road Trip  Trip with a Chinese couple through the USA – the couple was refused service only once.  LaPiere wrote to the owners and asked them if they would serve a Chinese couple at their establishment - 90% of the replies said ‘NO.’ Results:  negative attitudes (questionnaire) and positive behaviors (actually serving)!

6 Corey (1937) Attitude-behavior consistency and cheating. Objective: predict from the attitude survey who would cheat Results: No correlation between attitude and behavior.

7 Wicker’s Review Wicker (1969) reviewed all the studies on attitude-behavior consistency. Conclusion: The relationship between attitudes and behavior was very weak. Psychologists should abandon the concept of an “attitude” (Wicker, 1971).

8 How can we explained these discrepancies ?

9 The Revenge

10 Psychometric Principle Any single measure of behavior / psychological construct (single-act criterion) is not reliable due to the error associated with each single measure. SOLUTION? Aggregation Principle


12 Generality The level of attitude-behavior consistency is related to the level of generality of the constructs that are correlated. Attitudes are general and are measured in general terms (positive or negative), while actions like ‘praying before meals’ are very specific. Therefore, we should measure attitude (i.e., general) by looking at the general trend among many behaviors (i.e., aggregation).

13 Theory of Reasoned Action

14 The Theory of Reasoned Action is premised on the belief that the immediate predictor of behavior is a behavioral intention.

15 So what predicts behavioral intention? Behavior: Buying erotic magazines Attitude: includes salient beliefs/thoughts (‘includes beautiful models,’ ‘is sexist,’ ‘entertains.’ 1.Belief (R)– if you buy an erotic magazine, what is the probability of your salient beliefs coming true (expectancy)? (range from +3 to –3) 2.Evaluation (e)– how valuable is that salient belief to you? (range from +3 to –3)

16 Attitude Toward behavior Consequences Exciting entertainment Beautiful models Is sexist Funny jokes about sex Total (Σ) Belief (R) +2 +3 +1 Evaluation (e) +3 +2 -3 +1 (R)(e) +6 -3 +1 +10 ATTITUDE = Σ(R)(e) +10 is pretty high, but will the person buy the magazine? It depends on the person’s subjective norms about the behavior.

17 Subjective Norms About behavior Important Referents My girlfriend My father My neighbor People in the store Total (Σ) (NB) -2 +3 -3 (MC) +3 +1 +2 (NB)(MC) -6 +3 -6 -10 SUBJECTIVE NORMS = Σ(NB)(MC) NB – Normative beliefs (referents’ opinions on magazines?) MC – Motivation to comply (how important is their approval?)

18 The Complete Model

19 Attitudinal Beliefs Normative Beliefs.53.68.62 Meta-Analysis Results

20 Conclusion Theory of Reasoned Actions shows that sometimes attitudes fail in predicting / influencing behavior. Social norms can trump attitude (i.e., exert a more important influence on behavior). The relative influence of attitudes and social norms is influenced by situational and personality factors and may vary across attitude objects. The theory do not account for situations in which people do not have control over their behavior (i.e., unable to carry out their intentions).


22 Theory of Planned Behavior

23 Theory of Planned behavior Ajzen (1985; 1991) proposed a modification to the Theory of Reasoned Actions. He suggested that perceived behavioral control influenced intention and behavior.

24 Theory of planned behavior Specific attitudes are better predictors of behavior than are general attitudes (Davidson & Jaccard, 1979). Subjective norms: People’s beliefs about other’s view of the behavior in question. Perceived behavioral control: Extent to which people believe they can perform the behavior.

25 (Actual Control)

26 Theory of Planned Behavior Beh. Beliefs Evaluations Attitudes IntentionBehavior Norm. Beliefs Compliance Subj. Norms Perceived Beh. Control

27 Conclusion The Theory of Planned Behavior uses attitudes towards behaviors to predict behavior, whereas the original problem was to link attitudes towards objects to behaviors. The Theory of Planned Behavior neglects some additional influences on behavior. –Automated behavior (habits) may reflect neither attitudes nor social norms.

28 Predicting Spontaneous Behavior

29 Accessibility Theory (Fazio) Core Notion - Attitudes will predict behavior if (and only if) they can be activated from memory at the time of the decision. –Attitude must come spontaneously in the situation –Attitude must influence perceptions of an issue or person, serving as a “filter through which the object is viewed”.

30 Accessibility Theory According to Fazio’s model, all the information about a specific subject is contained in one node. The summary evaluation (i.e., attitude +/-) about the subject is contained in another node, connected to the subject node. The strength of the association between the subject node and the summary evaluation node determines attitude accessibility.


32 Accessibility Theory Weak association between the subject and the summary evaluation→ attitude is inaccessible and unlikely to influence behavior. Instead, arbitrary aspects of the situation/context will tend to determine behavior.

33 Accessibility Theory When attitudes are expressed many times, a strong association develops between the summary evaluation and the subject. Strong association between the two nodes, then spreading occurs quickly from one node to the other (attitude is very accessible) → influence behavior.

34 Response Latency Response latency has been used as a measure of accessibility – i.e., “How long does it take for someone to provide an answer/attitude...?”

35 Now What?

36 Moderators of Attitudes/Behavior Consistency Three key variables which can moderate the relation between attitudes and behavior: 1.Qualities of the attitude (attitude factors/nature), 2.Aspects of the situation (situational factors) 3.Characteristics of the individual (personality factors).

37 Situational Factors Situational factors can influence whether an attitude is activated. Typically, it is assumed that attitudes have a stronger influence on behavior when an attitude is activated in a situation. However, can you think of situations in which awareness of an attitude reduces the influence on behavior?

38 Situational Factors Two types of Situational Factors: –Norms and roles: Attitudes or judgments towards social norms (appropriateness) become stronger – other attitudes are inhibited in a situation “x”. –Scripts: attitude towards the situation trumped other attitudes

39 Qualities of Attitudes Nature of Attitude – Good/Bad attitudes –Awareness of an attitude strengthen or weaken the relation between attitude and behavior depending on the desirability of the behavior. –Desirable behavior: strengthen attitude- behavior relations (e.g., condom use). –Undesirable behavior: decrease attitude- behavior relations.

40 Qualities of Attitudes General vs. Specific –General Attitude (attitude toward object) – Global evaluation across different situations. –Specific attitude (attitude toward the behavior) – Evaluation of a single act/behavior. Compatibility Principle – Strong relationship between attitude and behavior is possible only if attitudinal predictor corresponds with the behavioral criteria.

41 Qualities of Attitudes Attitude Strength –Strong attitude are more likely to influence behavior –Ambivalence. People recognize positive and negative aspects of an attitude object - can moderate the relation between attitude and behavior. –High ambivalence: Behavior can be influenced by the positive or the negative aspects (inconsistent). –Low ambivalence: Only positive or negative aspects are activated (consistent).

42 Self-Monitoring Self-monitoring is a personality variable thought to influence behavior. People who are high in self-monitoring behave according to the situation (most likely behave inconsistently). People who are low in self-monitoring draw on feelings and attitudes when behaving (behavior is normally much more consistent across situations).

43 Conclusion Whether attitudes influence behaviors depends on several factors. Attitudes have a stronger effect when they are activated by situational cues. Attitudes have a stronger effect when people are self-aware. Consistent attitudes have a stronger effect on behavior than ambivalent attitudes.

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