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Attitudes and Consistency

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1 Attitudes and Consistency
Chapter 3 Attitudes and Consistency Prepared by Robert Gass & John Seiter Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

2 Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved
What is an attitude? Definition: An attitude is “a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor “(Eagly & Chaiken 1993, p. 1) Attitudes : are learned predispositions to respond tend to correspond with behavior are evaluative, e.g., favorable or unfavorable vary in degree or intensity are directed toward something Eagly, A. H., & Chaiken, S. (1993). The psychology of attitudes. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

3 Explicit attitude measures
Likert scales Known as “equal appearing interval” scales 5-7 scale points Ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree Uncertainty regarding the neutral point Example of a Likert-Type Scale Item The death penalty should be abolished. _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ strongly moderately neutral/ moderately strongly agree agree not sure disagree disagree Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

4 Explicit attitude measures
Semantic Differential Scales Based on the connotations of words Relies on bipolar adjectives (antonyms) 5-7 scale points Respondent checks the “semantic space” between the antonyms Uncertainty regarding the neutral space Sample scale items from McCroskey’s Ethos Scale Kanye West expert ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ inexpert unselfish ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ selfish timid ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ bold tense ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ relaxed trained ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ untrained Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

5 Visually oriented scales
Visual analog scale (VAS) How much do you favor establishing a federal handgun registry? strongly strongly oppose favor “Smiley face” scale Which face best reflects your attitude toward establishing a federal handgun registry? Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

6 Pitfalls in measuring attitudes
Social Desirability Bias Respondents may provide the “socially correct” response Non-Attitudes Respondents may make up opinions so as not to appear uninformed Mindfulness Respondents may not be aware of their own attitudes Note, these are only some of the problems with measuring attitudes. Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

7 Implicit Attitude MEasures
Implicit Association Test (IAT) Respondents are quicker to identify adjectives that reflect their attitudes, slower to identify adjectives contrary to their attitudes Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP) Respondents are primed with a positive or negative image (for example a liked or disliked politician) Respondents then rate a neutral stimulus (Chinese character) Evaluations of the primed stimulus are misattributed, e.g., projected onto the neutral stimulus Evaluative Priming Response times, for example pressing a key, are faster for attitude congruent words than attitude incongruent words Video clips of Anderson Cooper explaining the Implicit Association Test can be found at the links below https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlD_cf3amGo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHBxoIbbVew https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk7snXxHvzc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znZO0shKFJ4 A demonstration of the Implicit Association Test can be found at the link below https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/takeatest.html A demonstration of the Affect Misattribution Procedure can be found at the link below Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

8 Other Ways of Measuring Attitudes
Appearances Clothing, artifacts, and other appearance cues Risk of faulty sign reasoning Associations Memberships, affiliations, social networks Segmentation; soccer moms, NASCAR dads, millenials, etc. Behavior Actions, habits, lifestyles “thin slices” of behavior can be revealing Physiological measures Galvanic skin response, facial electromyography, fMRI Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

9 Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)
Developed by Fishbein & Ajzen in the 1970’s The TRA is a “rational” model of persuasion It presumes people are rational decision makers It presumes people make use of available information Behavioral intentions are the best predictor of actual behavior Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

10 Theory of Reasoned Action
Adapted from Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

11 Illustration of the TRA
Ned has begun drinking heavily since he started college Attitude toward the behavior: “I think drinking is ruining my health and it caused me to get fired from my job.” Subjective Norm component: “I know my friends and family would like me to stop drinking.” Intention: “I intend to stop drinking altogether.” Behavior: Ned attends his first AA meeting the next day Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

12 Theory of Planned Behavior (TpB)
An extension of the TRA The TpB adds the additional element of perceived behavioral control (self-efficacy) Internal factors might prevent or reduce control (lack of knowledge, lack of skill) External factors might prevent or reduce control (limited time or resources) Intentions correlate more strongly with actual behavior when there is perceived behavioral control Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

13 Persistence of attitudes
Attitudes formed via central processing are more enduring increasing a person’s motivation to attend the message will increase central processing improving a person’s ability to attend to a message will increase central processing Attitudes formed via peripheral processing are more short-lived Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

14 Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved
Associative networks Attitudes exist in associative networks Persuaders seek to establish connections among attitudes The goal is to link their product, brand, idea to favorable attitudes Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

15 Manufacturing Associations
Brands and Branding brands are matched with idealized lifestyles Symbols are appropriated and paired with brands Brand Personality Associations endow brands with human qualities; fun, sophisticated, tough, youthful aspirational brands, economical brands, authentic brands Cause-related marketing and Corporate social responsibility (CSR) Sloganeering Slogans foster favorable associations. “Breakfast of Champions” (Wheaties) “Diamonds are forever” (DeBeers) Sponsorship Brought to you by… Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

16 Example of associations and branding
A teen admires a particular brand, image, or lifestyle For example, iPhones and iTunes A new product is paired with that brand or lifestyle Ads for a new energy drink show teens listening to their iPods while enjoying the drink The teen comes to equate the product with the brand The energy drink seems to go with iPhones and iTunes Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

17 Psychological consistency
People desire consistency People prefer a state of harmony among their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors Inconsistency causes psychological discomfort The magnitude of dissonance The degree of psychological discomfort depends on the centrality of the attitudes Greater attitude salience results in greater dissonance People are motivated to restore consistency Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

18 Parenting and consistency theory
A child admires Popeye The child doesn’t like to eat spinach Popeye is positively associated with spinach This is a cognitively imbalanced state, which should motivate the child to change one of the associations Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

19 Balanced vs. imbalanced psychological states
Any combination of even minus signs, or all plus signs is psychologically comfortable Imbalanced psychological states Any combination of odd minus signs, or all minus signs is psychologically uncomfortable + - + - Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

20 Methods of maintaining consistency
Denial: ignoring the inconsistency Bolstering: adding rationalizations Bargaining: trying to reach a psychological compromise Differentiation: distinguishing between the conflicting and non- conflicting elements Transcendence: looking at the larger picture Modifying one or more attitudes: changing one or more associations Communicating: convincing others one is being consistent Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

21 Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved
Cognitive dissonance People seek to maintain a stable, positive, self- concept People rationalize their choices and actions in light of their self-concept Behavior that contradicts one’s beliefs or self- concept causes dissonance Making a decision produces dissonance or “buyer’s remorse” The more important the decision, the greater the dissonance Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

22 Example of dissonance in action
Lyle, a commuter, buys a large, 4 X 4, SUV Soon afterward, the price of gasoline soars Every time he fills up the tank, he experiences dissonance Some ways Lyle could reduce his dissonance: Convince himself the “gas guzzler” would also be safer in a crash Take up off-road sports to justify the vehicle’s other capabilities Coach a soccer team or little league team to justify having all those seats Sell or trade-in the car at a loss and chalk it up to “experience” Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

23 The magnitude of dissonance
Free choice paradigm the more free choice one has in making a decision, the more dissonance one will suffer Belief disconfirmation Exposure to information contrary to strongly held beliefs may increase adherence to those beliefs (e.g., stubbornness) Induced compliance When a person is forced to do something, little dissonance is aroused The person can rationalize the action by saying “I had no choice” Effort justification The greater the effort or sacrifice involved, the greater the dissonance Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

24 Ways of reducing dissonance
Rationalizing which is not the same as being rational Selective exposure Paying attention only to information that supports the choice made Avoiding information that is inconsistent with the choice made Polarization of alternatives Exaggerating the differences between the alternatives once the choice is made Any of the strategies for maintaining cognitive consistency Denial Bolstering Bargaining Differentiation Transcendence Modifying one or more cognitions Communicating Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

25 Psychological reactance
Also known as “reverse psychology” Backlash: A perceived threat to one’s freedom produces a defensive reaction Forbidden fruit: Outlawing something may make it even more attractive Examples: A pushy salesperson may drive customers away When restrictions are placed on firearms, firearm sales increase dramatically before the ban takes effect A parent who criticizes a daughter’s boyfriend may drive the daughter into the boyfriend’s arms Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

26 Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved
Playing “Devil’s Advocate”: Advocating a contrary position shifts one’s attitudes toward the contrary position No external incentives should be present The advocacy should be volitional (not compelled) The advocacy should be public (in writing or out loud) The person will internalize the choice to advocate the contrary position The person’s attitudes will shift (partially) toward the contrary position Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved

27 Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved
commitment Once we are committed to a course of action, it is hard to turn back A car owner may “throw good money after bad” making one repair after another Gamblers may double their bets every time they lose Social customs are designed to increase commitments Wedding customs Initiation rituals Commitments can grow legs People add additional justifications for their original decision Copyright © 2014 Pearson Education. All Rights Reserved


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