The Study of Attitudes
• Attitude: A positive, negative, or mixed reaction to a person, objects or ideas ( could be about
other but it could also be about yourself like your self esteem)
How Attitudes are Measured
• Selfreport: An assessment in which people make ratings pertaining to themselves (e.g., how
one feels + many other questions and items or scales). (convenient and we are going right
straight to the source if the person is telling the truth.
• Attitude Scale : A multiple item questionnaire designed to measure a person’s attitude toward
some object. ( i.e. state self esteem. Inventory=studying many things but all in one scale. )
• Reliability: consistency across repeated measurements.
• The Rosenberg trait selfesteem scale (normally has 10 items but here only few sample items)
• On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.
• I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
• I am able to do things as well as most other people.
• I take a positive attitude toward myself.
• Responses made on a 7 point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree… 7 = Strongly Agree).
• Take the mean or the sum and that will give us their self esteem.
• Internal Consistency: Agreement among responses made to the item of a measure (i.e. the
mean should always be the same throughout)
• Split half reliability technique: to increase consistency you split the scores into two and then
see how these correlates with one another. If the scale is reliable then se should have increase
correlation ( i.e. 6 and 6 on both questions=correlation is 1= consistency)
• Cronback’s alpha: the age correlation that exist among all the items ( how well they hang
together/how consistently are people answering these questions). Satisfied if it is .7 or higher
( less the .7=inventory rather then measuring one thing)
Ideally an item measuring an attitude works best as such…
Notice the number of responses (310 responses on a continues scale). Less then 3 then you are not
going to get a lot of variability (need these to get conclusion). More then 10 then you have too much
variability. Also, use inkers likely extremely satisfied/quite satisfied to indicate what each number
indicates. Also include a middle ( like in here, we have 3 which indicate the avg or middle so it helps
the person). Also, middle ankers like the slightly and quite satisfied, they give the participant a point
of reference. Also, the ankers have the word that was in the questions Facial Electromyograph (EMG) (covert measures something that we cannot see):
– An electronic instrument that records facial muscle activity associated with emotions and
attitudes (like muscles in the face that we cannot see).
– In here, the participants are shown videos that support or disapprove their views.. We see a
change in the muscles specially the cheeks like smiling when you hear something good. The
brow or the forhead=when they see something that they don’t agree with.
– Some people can show difference btw implicit and conscious difference like narcist ( who
The Link between Attitudes and Behavior
• Often they are not related we thought before. For example, Sociologist Richard LaPiere
took a Chinese American couple on a road trip…
– Despite the widespread prejudice at the time, the couple was refused service only once.
He then wrote the letters to the restaurants he visited and asked if you would accept
– 90% who returned an answer indicated NOT ACCEPT CHINESE. Thus, there was
discrepancy between attitude and behavior of people.
• Potential limitations
– LaPiere measured attitudes months after the initial trip ( prejuidice might have just
– It is unclear if the same people that let them dine were the ones actually responded
– LaPiere accompanied the couple (this is the biggest one)
– Businesses were desperate at the time (the great depression in 1930)
• Attitudes in Context: The more specific an initial attitude question is, then the better it
predicts the behavior. (i.e. rule to obey the rules of road. We are not likely to follow the roles.
But if we make it more specific like we obey the rules WHEN we have a our mom in car or
we see someone pull over. Thus the attitude is more specific and now is better. Thus if
lappaire had written a more specific questions rather then just HOW LIKELY WILL YOU
INVIVE CHINESS COUPLE vs invite AMERICANchiness with an older white professor=
thus the answers should then be a lot more different now and link then should have been seen)
• The strength of the attitude: stronger attitude is better predictor of the behavior. 1) The
behavior can be strong if it directly affects own selfinterests (i.e. you friend would not have
died if you had stronger gun rules) 2) The strength of the attitudes also relates to deeply held
philosophical, political, and religious values (liberal, democratic person much more intolerant
to communism) 3) Are of concern to friends, family and social ingroups (we get our attitudes
through socialization process like Europe love soccer vs. Americans love hockey. If people have the same values as us then that will increase the strength of our attitudes. This could be
for better or worse.)
• The process by which attitudes are changed ( like a sales person)
• Two Routes to Persuasion… (Videos: car commercial the hamster one and the Christmas one)
1. Central Route to Persuasion: The process by which a person thinks carefully about a
communication and is influenced by the strength of its arguments ( i.e. the Lincoln cars
example)(it gets people to digest things)
2. Peripheral Route to Persuasion: The process by which a person does not think carefully
about a communication and is influenced instead by superficial cues ( i.e. the hamster dancing
and kia car. Nothing about the car is known).
(both of these can be explained using Dual process model( 1) goes with the rational/effort roles. It is
a slower process. You think/reason/elaborate about the argument so you can make a decision. 2)
experiential mode which is is quick and dirty, faster, we follow heuristics.)
• Central Route and Elaboration : The process of thinking about and scrutinizing the
arguments contained in a persuasive communication (slower, critical thinking specially if
something is more important to us)
• The message easily learned rather than difficult then we are much more likely to take this
route ( it assumes that people are motivated to learn as long as it simple enough)
• The Peripheral Route : depends on features such as 1) communicator reputation (i.e. if
you think the person is expert and knows that he is talking about like the dentist commercial
thus this product is then worthwhile), 2) long list of argument or statistics ( you talk really
quickly and said many thing we can’t tell but rather you think because he has said so much
then quantity override the quality). This whole theory is based on this idea that people are not
• Attitude Embodiment Effects: The way we think and feel about things is influenced by the
physical position, orientation, and movements of our bodies (shaking one’s hand=no thank
you. Or up and down=I am interested/yes). Embodied cognition: participants who nodded