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PSYCH 3CB3 (58)

Attitudes and Persuasion

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McMaster University
Richard B Day

● Belief: a belief is the subjective probability that some piece of knowledge is correct, or that some state or event exists, has existed or will ● Attitude: categorization of a stimulus object along an evaluative dimension - cognitive, affective and behavioural components ○ sum of a set of beliefs about an attitude object ○ beliefs are about certainty, attitudes are about favorable or unfavorable evaluations based on beliefs ○ Utilitarian function: it is adaptive to like those things that grow us closer to our goal ■ evaluating ability of an object to meet our goals and needs, provide reward and minimize punishment ○ Social adaptation Function: adopting view of group helps us maintain good relationships with others ○ Economy Function: Treating all instances of a thing or event as identical makes it easier to deal with new instances; attitudes gives us a sense of control over our environment ○ Expressive, self realizing function: allows you to maintain a certain image; expressing internal sense of self ○ Ego-defensive function: like freudian defense mechanisms, attitudes help us deal with intra psych conflict (guilt and anxiety) we hold attitudes that make us feel better ○ Function Matching Hypothesis: attitude change occurs to meet a functional need; ● Turnston: basic number scale ● Likert: attitude measures in statements ○ steps in answering ■ decode and understand quetions ■ retrieving relevant information ● question order effects ● response order: geared toward first option ● response wording effects: ■ formatting answers to fit alternatives ■ using rating scales: higher reliability when all scales labeled ■ editing or censoring our responses: ● Implicit Measures: measure attitudes free of conscious processing; less susceptible to context effects - ‘ true’attitude ○ Sequential priming procedures: based on the observation that exposure to a concept facilitates subsequent recognition of related concepts ■ concept priming: identify words related to stereotypes about attitude object ■ evaluative priming: respond ‘good’or ‘bad’to words after attitude prime ○ response competition procedures ■ IAT: 5 step process assessing extent to which good or bad associations to attitude object increase or reduce response latency ■ GNAT: one attitude object with negative and positive word targets ■ EAST: ● Psychophysiological Measures ○ GSR: mostly assess arousal, not valence of reaction ○ Pupillary dilation: dilation assumed to indicate positive attitude; more about novelty than attitude valence, not clear that contraction = negative attitude ○ Facial EMG: frown and smile related muscle activity as indicator of attitude valence ○ fMRI: amygdala activity = negative valence ● Why care aboutAttitude structure ○ different models of attitudes suggest different structure ○ differences may be empirically testable ○ different structures suggest different: ■ modes of attitude formation ■ modes of attitude change ■ reasons for context effects ○ structure may explain attitude characteristics ● Characteristics or qualities of attitudes ○ Consistency: match between affect, cognitions and behavior ○ Ambivalence: occur because of inconsistency between various beliefs about an object ■ Within dimensional: both positive and negative beliefs or emotions with respect to object ■ between dimensional: conflict between cognition and affect with respect to object ○ accessibility: how readily can we retrieve attitude ○ Strength ○ Importance ● One factor models ○ expectancy value models of attitudes: models for expressing relationship between attitudes and beliefs ■ attitude is the sum of the subjective values attached to attributes of the object, (Sum = Q (attribute) x Value) ○ Attitudes as beliefs: ■ utilitarian beliefs: positive and negative consequences mediated by the attitude object - goal attainment functions ■ Feelings and emotions when object present ■ BehavioralApproach: avoidance ● Two Factor model: cognition and affect ● Three factor model: attitudes have three components, all of which must be a part of the attitude ○ the affective component: attitude object leads to or is associated with positive or negative emotions ○ the behavioral component: behavior tendencies ○ the cognitive component: information or knowledge connected with the attitude objects. ● Which model is the best ○ convergent validity: different measures ofABC components correlate better with each other than any other components ○ Discriminant validity: strong evidence for 3 factor model and 2 factor ○ Recent approaches ● Higher Order organization ○ Vertical structure: higher level attitudes or beliefs related to subordinate attitudes or beliefs ○ Horizontal Structure: attitudes related at the same level to other, similar or logically related attitudes ○ Centrality: some attitudes are more important and central to our belief systems than others ● Explicit vs. ImplicitAttitudes ○ Overall correlation: .25 -.35; lower in some cases (self esteem) higher in others ○ Completely distinct constructs:explicit: conscious processing, implicit: unconscio
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