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PSY220 LEC 4.docx

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Emily Impett

LECTURE 4 October 10, 2013 ATTITUDES AND PERSUASION PLAN FOR TODAY PART 1: ATTITUDES – How do we evaluate people, objects, and ideas? Do we do what we say and say what we do? PART 2: PERSUASION – How can we change people’s attitudes? ATTITUDES FOUR QUESTIONS WE WILL ASK… 1. WHAT ARE ATTITUDES? 2. WHERE DO THEY COME FROM? 3. DO OUR ATTITUDES INFLUENCE OUR BEHAVIOR? –When we most likely act congruently with our att 4. DOES OUR BEHAVIOR INFLUENCE OUR ATTITUDES? 1. WHAT ARE ATTITUDES? A PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRUCT THAT REPRESENTS YOUR EVALUATIONS—your likes vs. dislikes—of people, objects, and ideas THE ABCs OF ATTITUDES Affect (emotions) Behavior Cognitions (thoughts) - People mostly tend to attach an evaluation towards certain things -- such as feeling very positively or negatively toward things - Affect – emotion reaction we attach to an object. How much we like or dislike an object - Most attitudes trigger a positive/negative emotion. - Attitudes can be triggered by an emotional or gut response - When attitudes are activated, we are most likely to act consistently with them o Motor cortex prepares our body for action o We have automatic attention and beliefs about certain things o If we think babies are vulnerable a picture of a crying baby will trigger a caregiver actions - Sometimes we base our attention on relative facts o Ex. Brands of vacuum cleaners evaluated on different aspects - Attitude also have a balance (pos or negative) - We can feel positively or negatively towards certain things - Which is stronger? IS THE BAD STRONGER THAN THE GOOD?  Losing $10 is more painful than gaining $10 is pleasurable  Frightening sounds/noxious smells are more physiologically arousing than delicious tastes  Brief contact with a cockroach spoils a delicious tastes - Ex. Think pb&j are the most delicious thing in the world  But once a cockroach appears on it… This will ruin it for the next few times you want to ea iNegative stimulus will overwhelm your attitudes towards this positive stimulus - The bad is often stronger than the good - Brief contact with the negative stimulus can spoil something as delicious as pb&j 1 LECTURE 4 October 10, 2013 2. WHERE DO ATTITUDES COME FROM? A. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE  “I once threw up my mom’s vegetable soup; I no longer eat her soup.”  “I once saw three cockroaches on my sandwich; I no longer like pb&j.” - Our own personal experiences with an object with an idea - Personal experiences with certain things can pretty powerfully shape our attitudes towards these particular objects B. SOCIAL LEARNING  “As a child, I watched my dad route for the Blue Jays; I love the Blue Jays”  “My best friend wants to be a Social Psychologist; so do I.” - We often look around to see how other people feel about things C. GENETIC FACTORS  Attitudes of identical twins are more similar than those of fraternal twins  E.g., attitudes toward death penalty, censorship, divorce, socialism, & jazz  Political affiliation and participation - Our attitudes can also be influenced by genetic factors - Researchers compare attitudes of identical twins vs. fraternal twins to determine if MZ twins have more similar attitudes than DZ twins o Compared to DZ twins MZ twins also tend to be more similar in their political affiliations and political participation o If attitudes are heredity, they’re probably transmitted through another area of temperament o Not a 1-to-1 ratio btw genes and attitudes but genes can affect temperament that can affect attitudes D. EVOLUTIONARY FACTORS  Some of the deepest fears may have been adaptive in our evolutionary past - Research has shown that our fear of spiders come from evolutionary factors - Identify things present in our evolutionary past, and snakes and spiders were identified more frequently - Prewired in our brain to be afraid of these animals ~ VIDEO ~ - Man vs womans’ attitudes about having casual sex with a stranger - Variety of ways we can measure peoples attitudes - But a concern can be that a person is not being honest with their answers, or their underlying attitudes - Women have greater concerns about their sexual reputation - Women’s perception of the skill of the male will affect the their attitude towards sleeping with him or not (more likely to sleep with the male if thought to have more experience) 3. DO OUR ATTITUDES INFLUENCE OUR BEHAVIOR? TAKE A MOMENT…  Think about some of your attitudes—the likes and dislikes that you have  Think about how those attitudes influence your behavior…  Raise your hand… If you think your behaviors generally are consistent with your attitudes If you think your behaviors generally are not consistent with your attitudes 2 LECTURE 4 October 10, 2013 - EXAMPLE: How likely will you be when push comes to shove, to go on strike, so that you will be in line with your attitudes (especially if your family really depends on your income) - “Do what you say and say what you do” LaPIERE STUDY  In the early 1930s, Richard LaPiere went on a sightseeing trip across the U.S. with a young Chinese couple  He was worried that prejudice against Asians would prevent them from getting service  But only one out of 251 establishments refused to serve them  LaPiere wrote a letter to each establishment that they visited and asked if they would serve “Orientals”  More than 90% said they “definitely would NOT” (the rest said they were “undecided” - We don’t always act consistently with our underlying attitudes - Only 1 acted on this prejudice in the moment BAR STUDY  Almost 100% of patrons of bars in Ontario said that if they were going to have sex with a person they just met, they would have no objections to using a condom  56% had used a condom during most recent sexual casual sex encounter  ONLY 29% always used a condom WHY DO ATTITUDES INCONSISTENTLY PREDICT BEHAVIOR? 4 reasons why… A. Sometimes aspects of our attitudes conflict with one another  You might like something that you have negative beliefs about You like chocolate, but think that it is bad for your body  You might dislike something that you have positive beliefs about You hate to jog, but think that it is good for your body - There isn’t always consistently among these 3 aspects - You might dislike something on an emotional level, but have a positive belief about - The different components of our attitude are not always in alignment, and when they conflict we are less likely to be consistent with our attitudes B. Our general attitudes toward something don’t tend to predict our behavior very well  Attitudes toward mass transit are a poor predictor of whether you will ride the bus  Attitudes toward liberal vs. conservative ideology are a poor predictor of how you will vote in an election  Attitudes toward college is a poor predictor of whether you will like this class …*examples+ - Attitude on getting a college education is a poor predictor on how well you do in a class o If you want to predict whether you like the class, a better predictor would be to ask how you feel about psychology C. There are powerful situational constraints on behavior  You break your diet despite the best of intentions Your roommate baked chocolate chip cookies.  You love organic products but don’t buy them You don’t have enough money.  You are in favor of condoms but don’t use them Your boyfriend/girlfriend pressured you. 3 LECTURE 4 October 10, 2013 - Might have deeply held attitudes about things (losing weight, using condoms) but there can always be pretty powerful situations & constraints on our behavior that can influence how we feel and do things D. Automatic behavior bypasses conscious attitudes  I feel fear and may step away slightly when I’m walking toward a Black man on a city street - Sometimes unconscious attitudes can sometimes bypass our more consciously held attitudes - From this info we can extrapolate when our attitudes are more likely to predict our behavior… - Attitudes DO predict behavior when behaviors clash - There are fewer situational constraints etc…. 4. DOES OUR BEHAVIOR INFLUENCE OUR ATTITUDES?  Can our behavior ever feed back or impact our attitudes? WHEN ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR CLASH  People experience situations in which their behaviors clash with their attitudes  This causes discomfort  How do people deal with this discomfort?  This is what cognitive dissonance theory is all about… - When they clash we can feel a lot of psychological discomfort when we realize we don’t do what we say COGNITIVE DISSONANCE  The gap between our attitudes & behaviors produces psychological discomfort (dissonance) - It feels good to us when our actions and attitudes are in line with one another - We are motivated to reduce these feelings of dissonance Core Ideas 1. Consonance is pleasant 2. Dissonance is unpleasant 3. We are motivated to reduce dissonance Situation Producing Consonance - Leave sports car at home & use bike (in line with att to protect env) –> acting in a way that is consistent with our underlying attitudes = consonance - NO PRESSURE TO CHANGE - Action of driving is not consistent with pro attitude of protecting our env –> not consistent with underlying values & attitudes = dissonance - PRESSURE TO CHANGE = Motivated to reduce these feelings in 1 of 2 ways… Keep the car & change your att/ Switch car for scooter We’re more likely to change our attitude than to change our behavior because it’s easier 4 LECTURE 4 October 10, 2013 CHANGING OUR TUNE 3 things that can be explained by this theory of dissonance…  Post-decision dissonance “I didn’t really want that thing anyway.”  Effort justification “I worked my butt off for it, so I must like it.”  Induced compliance “I said it, so I must have meant it.” - Post-decision dissonance: Deciding btw 2 potential attractive options Rationalizing why you chose what you chose…convince yourself you didn’t even want that other thing anyway - Effort justification: Times when you work really hard for something, and change your attitude to really liking what you did to justify why you put so much hard work into it - Induce compliance: Forced to say something we really didn’t want to say, we are induced to comply with another person’s wishes. Bc we can’t change of why we did something, “I said it, so I must have meant it” 1. POST DECISION DISSONANCE Examples… University of Toronto; St. George vs. Mississauga St. George o Pros: Great variety of food options o Cons: Sitting for hours in traffic UTM o Pros: Prof. Impett teaches Social Psychology o Cons: You have to live with your parents - After carefully weighing pros and cons - Devalue things about what you liked about St. George in order for you to bring your attitudes in line with your decision UTM IS THE BEST (and St. George SUCKS)!  Having access to great food doesn’t really matter to me (I can only afford Tim Hortons anway)  Living with my parents won’t be all that bad (I can save money). RESEARCH: HORSE RACE STUDY  Horse enthusiasts asked to rate the chances that their horse would win the race at 2 time points  Ratings before they bet: “fair”  Ratings after they bet: “good”  “Are you working with that other fellow there? Well, I just told him that my horse had a fair chance of winning. Will you have him change that to a good chance? No, by God, make that an excellent chance.” People who gave their horses a fair chance of winning the rceOnce approached by the second experimenter, within a matter of seconds, went from giving their horse a fair chance to good chance 2. EFFORT JUSTIFICATION  Thinking “Why did I suffer for something that isn’t that great?” produces dissonance  Finding reasons for why we have devoted time, effort, or money to something that has turned out to be unpleasant or disappointing. 5 LECTURE 4 October 10, 2013 - If we worked really hard for something/payed a lot for something & ended up disappointed, we come up with reasons to justify our choices & efforts when things don’t turn out how we expected PSYCHOLOGY OF SEX STUDY  College students volunteered to join a group to discuss the psychology of sex  To be admitted to the group, students had to pass a screening procedure o Group 1: Screening procedure was extremely demanding o Group 2: Screening procedure was mildly unpleasant o Group
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