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Chapter 4- Behaviours and Attitudes Lecture notes for Chapter 4

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Emiko Yoshida

Week 4: Behaviour and Attitudes Why Do We Care About Attitudes? - We often want to find out other people’s attitudes o E.g., dating relationships, becoming friends - Why? o We think that attitudes predict behaviour, but are we right? –nope! - Video Clip: Friends –Joey o Attitudes: affirm masculinity, “I’m a man!” o Behaviours: knitting, flower arrangements o Thus, Joey’s attitude do not match his behaviours When Do Attitudes Predict Behaviour? - When others influence on our behaviour are minimum o E.g., social influences (bystander effect) - When attitudes specific to behaviour are examined o E.g., attitudes toward eating preferences versus attitudes toward drinking milk - When people are reminded of their attitudes o E.g., self-awareness - When attitudes are reinforced through experience o E.g., female graduate students’ attitudes toward child care Self-Justification: Cognitive Dissonance - Psychological discomfort resulting from discrepancy between cognitions or attitude- behaviour inconsistency - Feels uncomfortable - Experience strong motive to reduce dissonance - E.g., Smoking o Behaviour: I smoke cigarettes o Attitude: smoking leads to lung cancer o Dissonance o Option 1: change behaviour  Behaviour: I quit smoking  Attitude: smoking leads to lung cancer  No dissonance o Option 2: change attitude  Behaviour: I smoke cigarettes  Attitude: smoking has been linked with cancer, but research had methodological flaws  No dissonance - Which method is better? o Any method will work o But easier method is attitude change o It is often easier to change attitudes than behaviours  Rationalize behaviour with change of attitudes 1 Insufficient Justification –Cognitive Dissonance - Small reward or threat of mild punishment o Not enough reasons for doing things o “Why am I cleaning my room?” - Discomfort (dissonance) o “I must have a specific reason for my behaviour” - Change attitudes o “I clean my room because I like cleaning” - Dissonance reduction most likely with minimal external justification - Large reward or threat of severe punishment to get you to do things o Provide reasons for doing things o “I clean my room because of a reward” o “I don’t like to clean my room” o Attitudes will not change - Get people to do something result: they will change their attitude in order to justify the un-rewarding action Cognitive Dissonance Study: Festinger & Carlsmith, 1959 - Had participants perform an incredibly boring task - Asked to lie to another student and tell them it was fun - They were either paid $1 or $20 - All participants then were interviewed about how enjoyable/interesting the study was - $1 Condition; o Participants actually enjoyed the task –they changed their attitude to reduce dissonance o Dissonance due to insufficient external justification for lying  “Why am I telling a lie just for $1?” o To reduce dissonance:  Created internal justification by changing attitude toward the task  “I must have enjoyed the task” o Decided boring task was really fun - $20 Condition; o Participants didn’t change their attitude because they didn’t feel a need to since they got a large external reward o Strong external justification for lying o No dissonance aroused o No need to create further justification for lying o Initial attitude about boring task stayed same Cognitive Dissonance in the Real World - In-Class Exercise 2 –Did you make the right decision to choose UW over other schools? - We have a built in system to make us satisfied with our choices (e.g., shopping, jobs) - Cognitive dissonance theory: o Most people may think they did make the right decision o Dissonance after decisions o Choice between 2 attractive options produces dissonance o We reduce dissonance by rationalization our choice later on  Derogate one we didn’t choose  Boast about the one we did choose 2 Effort Justification - Tendency to increase our liking for something that we have worked hard to attain o E.g., Hazing/pledging for a frat or sorority, dating - Study: Aronson & Mills, 1959 o Participants were asked to have a group discussion o Before joining a group, they had to go through:  Severe initiation –read embarrassing material  Mild initiation –read not embarrassing material  Control –read nothing at all o Researchers measured their subsequent liking for the group - When people went through severe i
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