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PSY320H1 Study Guide - Final Guide: Predictive Validity, Social Proof, Ingroups And Outgroups

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Ashley Waggoner Denton
Study Guide

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Week 1 (4):
What is an attitude?
- A cognitive representation that summarizes an evaluation of something
- A categorization of a stimulus
- An association in memory between a given object and a given summary evaluation of the object
- An overall evaluation of an object that is based on cognitive, affective, and behavioural information
- Have two key dimensions: direction/valence and intensity/strength
What are the different types of validity?
- Face validity: Is it measuring what it should be measuring?
- Content validity: Does it cover all dimensions of the construct being measured?
- Convergent validity: How well does your measure matches up with others that measure the same
- Discriminant validity: Does it relate to things that are not relevant?
- Predictive validity: Can it predict future behaviours?
What are some of the ways that reliability can be measured?
- Internal consistency: Are each of the scale items measuring the same thing?
- Test-retest reliability: Do scores remain consistent across time?
What are some of the problems with self-reports?
- Wording effects: The same question asked with different words can produce very different results
E.g., “I believe a woman should have the right to take the life of her unborn child” vs. “I
believe a woman should have the right to control her own body”
- Context: The affiliation of the researcher can influence how people respond
E.g., People may assume that different questioners are interested in different things
- Order effects: The response to a question can be greatly influenced by the question that preceded it
E.g., People show greater support for legalized abortion if the question is preceded by questions
regarding women’s rights vs. questions about traditional values; People will interpret questions
they don’t understand based on surrounding questions
- Response options: How many options, how scales are anchored, the presence of a “don’t know”
option, etc.
E.g., How successful would you say you have been in life? 0 (not at all successful) 10
(extremely successful) vs. -5 (not at all successful) +5 (extremely successful)
- Social desirability bias: People respond in a way that makes them look good rather than in an honest
- Acquiescence bias: Some people seem to agree with everything, regardless of what a question asks
- Hard to capture complex attitudes: Structured attitude measures fail to capture much of the flavour
and nuances of attitudes
Week 2 (3):
What types of information contribute to an attitude?
- Affective information: How do you feel about the attitude object? What type of emotion(s) does it
Hard-wired, often acquired from first “gut reactions”
- Behavioural information: Knowledge of your past, present, and future interactions with the object
How often you shop at Walmart is relevant to your attitude toward Walmart
Habitual behaviour feed into our attitude
- Cognitive information: Your knowledge about the attitude object, including any beliefs, thoughts, or
attributes you associate with the object

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You may dislike a particular celebrity because you believe they engaged in some despicable
behaviour (E.g., Chris Brown)
What are two different ways that attitudes can be structured? What does this have to do with
- One-dimensional View: The positive and negative elements are at opposite ends of a single
dimension, people will tend to experience either end of the dimension or a location in between
The existence of positive beliefs, feelings and behaviours inhibits the occurrence of their
negative counterparts
No ambivalence
- Two-dimensional View: One dimension reflects whether the attitude has few or many positive
elements, and the other dimension reflects whether the attitude has few or many negative elements
People can possess any combination of positivity or negativity in their attitudes
Inconsistent with one-dimensional view: attitudes with many positive & many negative
elements attitudinal ambivalence
Potential ambivalence: A state of conflict that exists when people simultaneously possess
positive and negative evaluations of an attitude object
- Intra-component-attitudinal ambivalence: within the same component (E.g., Blondes:
believing blondes are fun but also think they are stupid)
- Inter-component ambivalence: between two components (E.g., Liking badboys, know
it is stupid, but you feel your heart beats faster anyways)
Felt ambivalence: actually feeling of tension people experience when consciously thinking
about the attitude object
- When people report having mixed, conflicted feelings
What are the different functions that attitudes may serve? How might we measure this?
- Experiential-Schematic: Attitudes based on past interactions that become part of a knowledge
structure (or schema) that organizes past experiences and provides guidelines for future interactions
Object-appraisal function: attitudes help us summarize the positive and negative attributes of
objects in our social worlds
Knowledge function: attitudes help organize our understanding of the world, guiding how we
attend to, store, and retrieve information
Utilitarian function: attitudes alert us to rewarding objects or situations we should approach,
and punishing objects or situations we should avoid
E.g., My opinions about gay men and lesbians mainly are based on whether or not someone I
care about is gay
- Defensive: Projection of unacceptable motives and expression of hostility
Externalization/Ego-defensive function: attitudes enable us to maintain cherished beliefs about
ourselves by protecting us from awareness of our negative attributes and impulses or from facts
that contradict our cherished beliefs or desires
E.g., My opinions about gay men and lesbians mainly are based on the fact that I would rather
not think about homosexuality or gay people
- Value-Expressive: When the attitude is used as a vehicle for expressing important personal values
Value-expressive function: attitudes help us express who we are (our self-concept) and our
central values
E.g., My opinions about gay men and lesbians mainly are based on my concern that we
safeguard the civil liberties of all people in our society
- Social-Expressive: When the attitude is used as a way of connecting to, or fitting in with, important
Social-adjustment function: attitudes help us connect with those we like and dissociate us from
those we dislike; sharing attitudes with others provides us with a sense of belonging and

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Impressions management function: sometimes we express attitudes that are not necessarily
accurate self-expressions, but that reflect the attitudes of others around us
E.g., My opinions about gay men and lesbians mainly are based on my perceptions of how the
people I care about have responded to gay people as a group
Week 3 (5):
What is persuasion?
- The process of forming, strengthening, or changing attitudes by communication
What are the basic assumptions and predictions of the Elaboration Likelihood model (ELM)?
- Elaboration refers to the thoughts (the cognitive response) that someone has in reaction to a
persuasive message
When elaboration occurs, a persuasive appeal will be successful if it lead to favourable
reactions and unsuccessful if it leads to unfavourable reactions
- Central route: When people think carefully about the content of the communication, including the
quality of the arguments and evidence provided
Elaboration likelihood is high attitude change will depend on the nature of the elaboration
- Peripheral route: When people attend to relatively simple, superficial cues related to the
Elaboration likelihood is low attitude change will depend on the availability of peripheral
cues (people often rely on heuristics (“rule of thumb”))
What are the key principles of the Yale model, the Meta-cognitive model, and the Unimodel?
- Yale model (Hovland, Janis, Kelley, 1953):
Messages could change a person’s attitude by presenting an incentive for attitude change
The incentive for attitude change is influenced by the source, message, and audience of the
persuasive communication
The source of the persuasive communication (who)
Source characteristics: attractiveness, likability, credibility, and expertise
Its content (what)
Message characteristics: quality, vividness, length, familiarity, and context
The audience (to whom)
Audience characteristics: age, personality ,mood, as well as their motivation to process the
Three processing stages:
1) Pay attention to the message
2) Comprehend the message
3) Accept the message (incentives come into play in this stage)
- Meta-cognitive model (Petty & Brinol, 2006):
Meta-cognitions: thoughts about thoughts
May add new beliefs that can subsequently be “tagged” as not true (Implications of implicit-
explicit ambivalence)
A persuasive intervention can:
Introduce a new evaluative association with the attitude object OR
Try to re-shape and old association
Depends on what happens next with the added information:
Scrutinize and disagree with it left with an attitude that is still connected with the
negative argument because we still remember it, but add a tag to indicate that it is invalid
- Explicit measure attitude unchanged
- Implicit measure new attitude appears; look ambivalent
No critical evaluation due to lack of interest or distraction believed/added new
association without the negative tag
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