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Behavioural Perspectives

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PSYC 102
Catherine Wilson

Last class: review - Person perception—process of forming impressions of others, attempt to understand others - Biases can mislead us: o Physical appearance o First impressions o Cognitive schemata o Stereotypesprejudice  discrimination - Attributions—infer cause of behaviour o Biases  Fundamental attribution error: more likely to attribute the behaviour to the person  Actor/observer bias  Self-serving bias: this bias is used to protect or enhance our ego. Failures attributed to external or situational factors  Defensive attribution: tendency to blame victims for their misfortune Chapter 13: Behaviour in a social context cont’d Attitudes - Attitude: A relatively stable, positive or negative evaluative reaction toward a person, action object or concept Components of Attitude - the 3 components of attitude  Cognitive (thoughts and beliefs),  affective (likes and dislikes—the emotional side)  behavioural Attitudes and Behaviour - Lapiere’s (1943) findings - Is there a relationship between attitude and behaviour?? o Situational pressures: conformity pressures that lead us to behave at odds o Awareness—more likely to behave in line with what your attitude actually is when you are stopped and told to think about your attitude o Specificity of attitude—specific attitudes predict specific behaviours Attitude Change - Persuasive communications o Message source—the person giving the message  Credibility/expertise: How believable we perceive the communicator to be. For ex. Dentists used to sell toothpaste. Expertise enhances credibility  Trustworthiness: the more trustworthy the person is, the more influence that person can have. Arguing against self interest can increase credibility through increasing trustworthiness  Physical attractiveness Persuasive Communications - Message content o Fear arousal—for ex. the consequence of smoking, marketers put pictures on smoke packages to enhance fear arousal o Extremely low level and extremely high levels of fear arousals do not work o Low fear arousal isn’t effective because it may not grab someone’s attention. Very high level of fear arousal can overwhelm a person or offend that person. A moderate/intermediate levels of fear arousal is shown to motivate people to change their attitudes towards the content - Message content: one-sided vs. two sided arguments o One-sided:  Friendly toward your side  Immediate, but temporary attitude change o Two-sided approach has a larger impact in changing one’s attitude  Audience initially disagrees with you side  Audience will hear other side of argument from someone else - Recipient o Early research: self-esteem o Competence—competence regarding the topic o Involvement –how involved the person is with the specific issue. Increased involvement can show how rhetorical questions can be effective o Initial position: latitude of acceptance o Forewarning—more likely to change one’s mind when they know they are being attempted to be changed o Route to persuasion Attitude change: Cognitive theory dissonance theory - Festinger & Carlsmith (1959) - Based on consistency and our attitude - For subjects that were paid $20, no dissonance existed and no attitude change Theories of Attitude Change - Learning theory o Classical conditioning o Operant conditioning—reinforcement and punishment—our behaviour is influenced by the consequences that follow it. If there is reinforcement, your attitude is strengthened. o Social learning theory - Balance theory –Fritz Heider (1940s) o Suggests that a person has a positive and negative attitude toward things and that the pattern of these attitudes toward events can be balanced or un- balanced Social Influences on Behaviour - how social groups can influence our thoughts Field Theory - Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) o Gestalt psychology o Different forces are constantly pushing and pulling you which will help you decide whether or not your achieve certain goals Social Impact theory - Latane, 1981 - Social impact is any detectable effect that occurs in a person as a result of a social force - Impact of social force function of: o Strength of source o Immediacy of source—the distance between the target and the source o Number of sources  Multiplication of social impact—impact decreases as the number of sources
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