Theory of Reasoned Action:
Fishbein and Azjen (also thought that attitudes are a learned predisposition, did aggregation of
attitudes, attitude = sum of belief times evaluation)
Based on the belief that the immediate prediction of behaviour is a behavioural intention
Attitudes and social norms both affect behaviour
So what predicts behavioural action?
Behaviour: getting drunk at a party
Attitude: includes salient beliefs. All positive and negative attitudes are on the table, If I
get drunk I will have fun (positive), get a hangover (negative). Depending on how many
times the attitude gets activated the attitude will become stronger or weaker
1. Belief (R) : expectancy - what is the probability of your salient beliefs coming true ?
If I get drunk what are the probabilities that I will have fun or get a hangover?
Ranges from -3 to +3
2. Evaluation (e) : how good is that salient belief to you? Judge the valence of action.
How good is having fun, how good is getting a hangover?
Attitude = Sum of (beliefs X evaluation) – Syllogistic model.
All these numbers are specific to a person.
However depending on the subjective norms the person might or might not get drunk
1. Normative beliefs (NB): what you think that others will think of your actions.
What will partner think of me getting drunk? What will my close friends think?
2. Motivation to comply (MC): how important is their approval to you?
Subjective norms = Sum of (NB X MC)
Intention = Attitude + Subjective norms
However attitude and subjective norms might not have equal power, depending on the power
Relative importance depends on independent person vs. interdependent person
1. McArdle (1972)
Asked alcoholics if they intended to sign up for an alcohol treatment program
The correlation between intending to sign up and actually signing up was high
2. Davidson and Jaccard (1979)
Measured women’s attitudes and subjective norms to get their intention on
having a baby within the next 2 years
The correlation between getting a baby and their intention was low. As just
because you want a baby does not mean that you will get one
When intention was correlated with attempted conception, the correlation was
higher. Priming the private self affects the relative weights of attitudes and subjective norms
3. Ybarra and Trafimow
Participants were asked to think for 2 minutes about things that prime their
individuality (what makes them unique) vs. things that prime collectivism (what
makes them common)
Independence vs. interdependence
Later participants rated their attitudes, social norms and behavioural intentions