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Chapter 4- Behaviour and Attitudes Textbook Notes From Social Psychology -Myers, Spencer, Jordan -4th ed.

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University of Waterloo
Emiko Yoshida

Chapter 4 Behaviour and Attitudes How Well Do Our Attitudes Predict Our BehaviourAttitude a favourable or unfavourable evaluative reaction toward something or someone exhibited in ones beliefs feelings or intended behaviour Are We All HypocritesFestinger concluded the evidence did not show that changing attitudes changes behaviour o He believed that the attitudebehaviour relation works the other way around with the behaviour as the horse and our attitudes as the cartWicker believed that peoples expressed attitudes hardly predicted their varying behaviours o Eg students attitudes toward cheating bore little relation to the likelihood of their actually cheating attitudes toward the church were only modestly linked which church attendance on any given SundayBaston and colleagues called the disjuncture between attitudes and actions moral hypocrisy o They asked participants to assign themselves a task appealing or boring and assign a second participant the other task o Found that only 1 of 20 believed that assigning the appealing task to themselves was the most moral thing to do however 80 of the participants did so o In followup experiments of moral hypocrisy participants were given coins they could flip privately if they wished o Even if they chose to flip 90 assigned themselves to the appealing taskBaston and colleagues put a sticker on each side of the coin indicating what the flip outcome would signify still 2428 people who made the toss assigned themselves to the appealing task when morality and greed were put on a collision course greed wonThe developing picture of what controls behaviour emphasized external social influences such as others behaviour and expectations and played down internal factors such as attitudes and personalityWhen Attitudes Predict BehaviourOur behaviour and our expressed attitudes differ because both are subject to other influencesWhen social influences on what we say are minimal o Researchers can never get a direct reading on attitude so they measure expressed attitudes o They subtly assess attitudes by measuring facial responses to statements o Another method offers a bogus pipeline to the heartIt wires people to a fake lie detector which participants are told is real and researchers show them how well it displays their previously obtained attitudes and then ask them new questions o In one study students admitted more prejudice when hooked up no wonder people who are first persuaded that lie detectors work may then admit the truth o Another subtle attitude measure is the implicit association test IAT which uses reaction times to measure how quickly people associate conceptsEg one can measure implicit racial attitudes by assessing whether White people take longer to associate positive words with Black rather than White facesAcross 126 studies implicit attitude measures by the IAT have correlated on average a modest 024 with explicit selfreported attitudes 1 When others influence on behaviour are minimal o Its not only our inner attitudes that guide us but also the situation we face o Predicting peoples behaviour is like predicting a baseball players hitting the outcome of any particular time at bat is nearly impossible to predict because it is affected not only by the batter but also by what the pitcher throws and by chance factorsWhen we aggregate many times at bat we neutralize these complicating factorsKnowing the players we can predict their approximate batting averages o Eg Peoples general attitude toward religion poorly predicts whether they will go to worship next weekend because the weather the preacher how one is feeling etcBut religious attitudes predict quite well the total quantity of religious behaviours over time o The findings define a principle of aggregation the effects of an attitude on behaviour become more apparent when we look at a persons aggregate or average behaviour rather than at isolated acts When attitudes specific to behaviour are examined o Ajzen and Fishbein point out that when the measured attitude is general eg attitude toward Asians and the behaviour is specific eg whether to help an Asian couple we should not expect a close correspondence between words and actionsFound that 26 out of 27 studies attitudes did not predict behaviourBut attitudes did predict behaviour in all 26 studies they could find in which the measured attitude was directly applicable to the situationThus attitudes toward the general concept of health fitness poorly predicted specific exercise and dietary practices whether people jog is more likely to depend on their options about the costs and benefits of joggingo Theory of Planned BehaviourBehaviourBehaviour intention o Attitude toward the behaviourIm for physical fitness o Subjective normsMy neighbours seem to be jogging and going to the gym o Perceived controlI could easily do thisAttitude toward thebehaviour Behaviour Intention Subjective Norms Behaviour Perceived Control 2
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