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Lecture 1.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
William Huggon

Lecture 1:  The essential features of attitudes is a preparation or readiness for response, it is the precondition of behaviour.  Attitudes are studied as they are critical for survival-goodness or badness or certain things need to be known. A fire is not safe and knowing that can protect ourselves.  Attitudes may influence behaviour, however it also does NOT always predict behaviour  People tend to act in consistent ways according to their attitudes.  Attitudes represent your response to stimulus that creates your behaviour. Stimulus may be any object, person place etc.  Attitudes can predict behaviour; it acts as a bridge between stimuli to behaviour.  However attitudes do not predict behaviour unless it is done the right way. A person who has a certain attitude might not display them due to social norms.  Allport definition of an attitude: a) a mental or neural state or readiness, b) organized through experience and can change, c) exerting a direct or dynamic influence on the individual’s response ( does not 100% predict behaviour) d) to all objects and situations to which it is related.(similar situations draw inference from similar situations) e) Attitude object: anything we have an attitude about  Eagly and Chaiken definition of an attitude:  A psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour.  Attitudes are summary evaluations of attitude objects  Attitudes have the ABC component  Are all attitudes learned?  Fishbein and Azjen thought that attitudes were a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favourable or unfavourable manner with respect to a given object.  However several studies show that even newborns like sweetness and dislike bitterness.  Hence some attitudes may be innate  Breaking Attitudes into parts: a) Valence : positive or negative b) Strength c) Complexity: simple vs. complex attitudes, summarizing everything into a simple attitude. I like this instead of I like this because of this. Dating as time goes by, what do you like about your gf/bf? I don’t know I just know that I like him/her.  The ABCs of attitudes: a) Affective: how you feel for the object b) Behavioural: how you behave towards the object c) Cognition: what do you think about the object  Attitudes cannot be seen, they must be inferred. Latent variables are variables that are not observed, instead they are inferred. We combine variables together to minimize the error as people might want to look good and lie.  Attitudes are stored the same way as memory.  Operational definition:  Specifies explicitly how to measure a variable so that a ranking van is assigned.  Since we cannot see an attitude, we need to infer it. And we need numbers for it.  Never completely adequate. Depression has a lot of factors and it is impossible to use all the factors.  We need shortcuts to simplify complex concepts into something that is more readily studied and also to prevent any confounding variables.  Example: Thermometer is used to measure health, however it is also a measure of how high the mercury has raised which is a measure of how warm the mercury is which is a measure of how warm someone’s mouth is. Since health is an abstract concept, we used a thermometer as a way to quantify health.  However there are limitations, with regards to the previous example health is complex and our measurements are a simplification. What if someone’s baseline temperature is 38 degrees? Does he still have a fever? What if someone’s baseline temperature is 35 degrees?
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