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Chapter 7 - Attitudes, Behavior, and Rationalization.doc

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PSYC 215
John Lydon

Chapter SevenAttitudes Behavior and Rationalizationthe influence of attitudes on behaviors is a bit weaker than most people suspectthe influence of behavior on attitudes is much stronger than people suspectattitudes are surprisingly poor predictors of behavior but it specifies the circumstances in which attitudes predict behavior rather wellThe Three Components of Attitudesattitudean evaluation of an object in a positive or negative fashion that includes the three elements of affect cognition and behavioraffecthow much people like or dislike an objectnearly all objects trigger some degree of positive or negative emotioncognitionsthoughts that typically reinforce a persons feelingsinclude knowledge and beliefs about the object as well as associated memories and imagesbehaviorsactions usually a tendency to either approach or avoidwhen specific attitudes are primed people are more likely to act in a way consistent with that attitudeour attitudes activate particular regions in the brain that support specific actionsMeasuring Attitudesattitudes are most commonly measured through simple survey questionsresearchers typically ask their participants to rate an attitude object on a Likert scaleLikert scalea numerical scale used to assess peoples attitudes includes a set of possible answers with labeled anchors on each extremeex1 never 7alwaysresponses to these sort of simple scales are likely to miss some important elements when it comes to complex attitudespeople differ in the strength and depth of their attitudes toward complex issuesto capture the richness of peoples attitudesmeasure the accessibility of the attitudehow readily the attitude can be activated in the individuals mindresponse latencythe time it takes for an individual to respond to an attitude questiondetermine the centrality of the attitude to the individuals belief systemresearchers measure a variety of attitudes within a domain and calculate how strongly each attitude is linked to the othersif an attitude is very important to you it should be highly correlated with your attitudes towards certain other issuesimplicit attitude measuresindirect measures of attitudes that do not involve selfreportutilized when there is reason to believe that people may be unwilling or unable to report their true attitudestwo widely used measuresaffective primingimplicit association test IATallow researchers to tap into automatic attitudes or peoples immediate evaluative reactions that they may or may not be conscious of or that may conflict with their consciously endorsed attitudesresearchers can use nonverbal measures of attitudespeoples smiling behaviorspeoples degree of physical closenessresearchers can measure physiological indicatorsincreased heartbeat associated with fearsweaty palms associated with fearBox 71negative evaluations are stronger than positive evaluationsmakes evolutionary sense food and mates are available tmrw if a predator is not successfully avoided there is no tmrwPredicting Behavior from Attitudes1930s Richard LaPierespent two years traveling the States with a young Chinese couple in the 30swent to 250 establishments refused service in one establishmentLaPiere wrote to each establishment asking whether or not they employ a policy to refuse service to Orientals90 replied that they would NOT provide service to an Orientalconclusion attitudes do not predict behavior very well1960s a reviewthe present review provides little evidence to support the postulated existence of stable underlying attitudes within the individual which influence both his verbal expressions and his actionspeople are surprised by this becausewe see plenty of evidence every day that attitudes and behavior go togetherBUT this evidence only tells us that if people behave in a certain way they are likely to have a positive attitude toward that behaviorthis does not mean that people with a positive attitude towards a given behavior are likely to behave in a manner consistent with their attitudepeople may have many reasons for failing to act on their attitudesAttitudes Sometimes Conflict with Other Powerful Determinants of Behaviorattitudes compete with other determinants of behaviorattitudes do not always win out over these other determinants and therefore are not always tightly connected to behaviorone determinant that can weaken the relationship between attitudes and behavior is an individuals understanding of the prevailing norms of appropriate behaviorAttitudes are Sometimes Inconsistentattitudes may conflict with one anotherdifferent components of attitudes may not always alignin particular there can be a rift between the affective and cognitive components of attitudesaffective componentwhat we feel about the subjectcognitive componentwhat we think about the subjectcognitive components might determine the attitudes we express but the affective components might determine our behavior or vice versa
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