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Lecture 4

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Virginia K Walker

Attitudes and Attitude Change st Lecture 4: January 31 , 2013 Overview • What are Attitudes? • When will attitudes predict behavior? • How do we change our own attitudes? What are Attitudes? 1. Attitudes: a person’s evaluation of a person, object, or idea 2. How favourably or unfavourably you judge something 3. Could be toward people or objects, etc. (your evaluation of that person) 4. can be positive, negative, or ambivalent (positive and negative; i.e. kind of like someone but at the same time you don’t) 5. Ex. Person- your mother • Values 1. Refer to ideals, guiding principles, overarching goals used to influence what we think, how we feel and what we do 2. “Desirable end states or behaviours that transcend specific situations, guide selection or evaluation of behaviour and events, and are ordered by relative importance” • i.e. value freedom of expression, social harmony however values are distinct from attitudes but they underline attitudes 3. Large, macro constructs that underlie attitudes • i.e something that is valuable to you means you will have a positive attitude toward it 4. More global and abstract 5. Fewer in number 6. More central to the self-concept; more central to who are you • Beliefs 1. Cognitions about the world 2. Subjective probabilities than an object has a particular attribute or that an action will lead to a particular outcome 3. Not facts; beliefs don’t necessarily have to be true 4. Prescriptive beliefs 5. More specific and cognitive in nature 6. Greater in number (more beliefs compared to the attitudes we have) Tripartite Model (ABC model of attitudes) • Three components of attitudes: affective/emotional component, cognitive (thoughts/beliefs of object), and behavioural • Tells us what attitudes look like 1. Affective • Emotional reactions towards the attitude object • Ex. Feeling excitement and pleasure about a model of car 2. Cognitive • Thoughts and beliefs about the attitude object • Ex. Thoughts about the car’s gas consumption and safety  Behavioural  Actions or observable behaviour toward the attitude object  Ex. Going to the dealership and test driving a car  Expectancy value model: attitudes made up of expectations what will happen and whether or not you value that object o Other idea that attitudes come from world beliefs; i.e. different cultures may have different values and thus different attitudes on certain things • Attitudes can be explicit or implicit (dual process model)  Explicit Attitudes i. Attitudes which we consciously endorse and can easily report; consciously aware of  Implicit Attitudes i. Attitudes which are involuntary, uncontrollable, and at times unconscious ii. Research shows impacts immediate behaviour • How do we measure explicit versus implicit attitudes?  Explicit i. Just ask people how positively or negatively they feel towards an attitude object  Implicit i. Implicit Association Test (IAT); measuring attitudes in way people aren’t aware of (i.e. how long it takes someone to answer) ii. Measures the strength of associations between concepts • Sometimes our explicit and implicit attitudes match  Knowing that you like Pepsi (explicit) and having an unconscious association between Pepsi and positive (implicit)  Sometimes they do not match  Consciously endorsing an affirmative action program at school (explicit) and having an unconscious association between Indian negative (Implicit) • Why would this happen?  People may not always honestly report their explicit attitude because they want to present themselves in a positive light i. Ex. Not appear prejudice  People are not aware of their implicit attitudes ***** How are attitudes formed?  People briefly consider some piece of information about the attitude *** FINISH THIS Heuristics (mental short cut)  Ex. Novel products and “expert” opinions o Brand X preferred by 4/5 leader experts o Only information about Brand X that is considered is that it is preferred by 4/5 experts o Use heuristics- experts can be trusted o Experts can be trusted is paired with 4/5 experts prefer Brand X o Infer that Brand X is good  Attitudes can increase in strength over time; confirmation bias o To the extent to which we hold a particular attitude, we select information that is consistent with that attitude o Explains why strong attitudes are resistant to change o We tend to surround ourselves with those who are similar to us (find similarity more attractive in terms of values and attitudes); eventually can make some attitudes stronger  Less exposed to different attitudes o How much info you have about attitude object; tend to know more about things we like (makes it easier to come up with counterarguments/attempt to change attitude which in turn makes attitude stronger ) o Becomes more accessible when you think about attitude object Classical Conditioning  Pavlov (1927) o Conditioned stimulus; neutral response- no response at the beginning (i.e. bell) o Unconditioned stimulus; stimulus associated with positive or negative response or evaluation (i.e. food) [stimulus that originally elicits the particular response you are interested in] o Response (i.e. salivation) [behaviour that you are interested it]  First repeatedly present a CS (i.e. ring bell)  Then repeatedly present CS followed by an UCS (i.e. ring bell then present food)  After repeated presentations the CS elicits the response (i.e. ringing bell only results in salvation) o Due to associated formed between bell ringing and getting food  I.e. Stats and Stats (1958) o First CS (names from unfamiliar nationalities) o Followed by UCS (words with positive meanings) o People started to develop positive evaluation of unfamiliar nationalities **shows how attitudes can be formed based on classical conditioning (association formed between feeling good and unfamiliar nationality so you develop a positive attitude toward the made up nationality) I.e. commercials with jingles (puts you in good mood and people make association between product being advertised and good mood)  Attitudes can also be formed through evaluative conditioning Mere Exposure  Repeated exposure to novel stimulus leads to positive evaluations of the stimulus  i.e. when songs keep playing over and over and you begin to like it  Robust effect; one of the most studied example of simple associations  Present even if subject cannot report whether he/she has previously seen the attitude object  Can also lead to negative attitude; hearing a song too many times Direct Causal Relationship Between Attitudes and Behaviour • Direct Causality • Attitude -> behavoiur  LaPiere (1934) i. Behaviour; would a Chinese couple be served at a restaurant ii. Attitude; would you accept members of the Chinese race as guests in your restaurant? iii. When accompanied by a Chinese couple, only 1 restaurant refused to serve them but 90% responded “No” on the questionnaire Moderated Causal Relationship Between Attitudes and Behaviour • Moderated Causality; relationship between attitude and behaviour depends on another variable (known as the moderator [changes strength or direction of relationship between two other variables]) **A variable that changes the strength or direction of the relationship between 2 other variables • Moderators  Situational factors i. Social norms- norms about what is appropriate to do in certain situations  Individual’s belief about the appropriate behaviour in a situation  Weak relationship between attitudes and behaviour when a. Public expression/display of attitude violates a salient social norm b. Strong social norms that guide how you behave then attitude is less likely to predict behaviour  Ex. At a funeral, not likely to make jokes (social norms) • Moderators  Situational factors i. Social roles  Parts that we play in everyday life that are associated with socially prescribed functions; i.e students playing a role while they are attending a lecture which guides their behaviour  Weak relationship between attitudes and behaviour when a. Behaviour is dictated by the social role b. Attitudes less likely to predict behavior when social roles are in place  Ex. Colleague that you don’t like (negative attitude towards this colleague) but you behave in professional manner when you are at work (social role you have to play at work) • Moderators  Situational factors i. Time pressure- how much time we have to think about how to behave in a certain situation  Weak relati
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