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PSYC 2120 Chapter 6.docx

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PSYC 2120
Irwin Silverman

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PSYC 2120Chapter 6 Attitudes and attitude change The nature and origin of attitudes Most psychologists define an attitude as an evaluation of a person object or idea They are evaluative in that they consist of a positive or negative reaction to something An attitude is made up of three components 1 An affective component consisting of emotional reactions toward the attitude object for example another person or a social issue2 A cognitive component consisting of thoughts and beliefs about the attitude object3 A behavioural component consisting of actions or observable behaviour toward the attitude objectAttitudes very in terms of whether they are more likely to be based on affect cognition or behaviourAn attitude based more on emotions and feelings than on an objective appraisal of pluses and minuses is called an affectively based attitude These attitudes could come from peoples values such as their religious and moral beliefs Affectively based attitudes have certain key features in common they do not result from a rational examination of the issues they are not governed by logic and they are often linked to peoples values so that trying to change them challenges those values Cognitively based attitudes to the extent that a persons evaluation is based primarily on beliefs about the properties of an attitude object The purpose of this attitude is to classify the pluses and minuses of an object so we can quickly tell whether it is worth our while to have anything to do with itA behaviourally based attitude stems from peoples observations of how they behave toward an attitude object According to Daryl Bems self perception theory under certain circumstances people dont know how they feel until they see how they behaveOnce an attitude develops it can exist at two levels Explicit attitudes are ones we consciously endorse and can easily report they are what we think of as our evaluations when someone asks us a question such as what is your opinion importing carbon taxes People can also have implicit attitudes which are involuntary uncontrollable and at times unconscious evaluations When will attitudes predict behaviourIn subsequent research social psychologists have discovered that attitudes can actually predict behaviours quite well but only under certain conditions The theory of planned behaviour the best predictor of peoples behaviour is their intention whether they intend to perform the behaviour in question which is in turn determined by three things their attitudes toward the specific behaviour their subjective norms and their perceived behavioural control Specific attitudes the theory of planned behaviour holds that only specific attitudes toward the behaviour in question can be expected to predict that behaviour Ex The womens general attitude toward birth control did not predict their use of birth control at all
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