PSYA02 – Lecture 13
Attitude Formation and Reformation
The study of attitude formation is the study of how people form evaluations of people,
places or things.
For example, should people be allowed to conduct research on animals that wouldn`t be
conducted on humans?
Forming Impressions of Others:
Central Traits: there are some traits that are more important when organizing our
impressions of others. For example, warm and cold.
Primacy Effect: is the order with which we hear or experience traits influence the
impression of others. The earlies traits have the biggest effect. For example, if these 5
traits were given to two individuals but in different orders, their impression on others will
o Intelligent, industrious, impulsive, critical, stubborn, and envious.
o Envious, stubborn, critical, impulsive, industrious, and intelligent.
Disposition vs. Situation:
One distinction that forms attributions and impressions of others is disposition (internal)
vs. situation (external).
The flowchart explains this:
o Consensus: For example, if Professor Joordens behaves condescending with a
student, the student needs to determine whether all professors are like this. If not
many professors behave like this, then the behaviour Joordens did is just from him
(disposition). If all professors behave like this, then it is the situation.
o Distinctiveness: For example, if Professor Joordens behaves differently while
talking to another student, then the student needs to determine whether Joordens
always behaves like this or only for that specific student. If Joordens behaves like
this normally with every student, then it is disposition. However, if Joordens does
not usually behave like this, then it is the situation and more likely the student’s
o Consistency: For example, if Prof Joordens is talking to a specific student and is
behaving differently although he normally isn’t like that with that student. If he hardly behaves like that then it is a weird behaviour. However, if he always
behaves like that with the student, then there is a problem between the two. For
instance, the student could be asking Joordens for extra marks, which makes her
Cognition, Affect and Behaviour:
Cognitively: beliefs and ideas.
o For example, gun owners may shoot themselves more than the actual purpose of
having a gun, which is for thieves.
Affectively: shows how one may have an opinion of a certain object but when it comes to
hand, their opinion changes.
o For example, some people have a strong reaction to guns. There was an
experiment of young girls and young boys who had to react to the presence of a
gun. The gun was placed in a certain spot and when the children found it, their
reactions were different from one another.
o The girls were afraid and did not want to touch it. They also wanted to call the
o The boys were impressed by it and considered it to be a form of power. Unlike the
girls, they wanted to hid it from the authorities.
o For example, vegans fin