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Psychology 3721F/G
Taylor Kohut

Chapter 1history and conceptsWhy study attitudesControversy of whether to study attitudes or behavior Behaviorists BF skinner stick to observable behavior Attitudes are the most commonly studied topic in social psychologyWhy is attitude important1 Attitude is a shorthand term to summarize different behaviors2 An attitude can be the cause of a persons behavior toward another person3 Concept of attitude helps to explain the consistency of a person behavior 4 Attitudes are important in their own right 5 Attitude is neutral and acceptable to many schools of thought ex Bridges the gap between nature and nurture6 Attitude is an interdisciplinary conceptpsychologists sociologists scientists communications researchers all study it5 ways of studying attitudes DescriptionLess interested in explaining or understanding behavior MeasurementThere have been many sophisticated methods developed to measure attitudes but they havent been properly utilized Pollspublic opinion polls TheoriesPrimarily concerned with explaining the basic nature of attitudes how theyre formed and how they can changeo In most cases they arent concerned with precise measurements ExperimentsConcentrated on investigating the factors that can produce attitude change and on testing the hypothesis of attitude theoriesDefinitions of attitude Emphasize that scientific usage of the term attitude is different from some current colloquial or slang meanings of the word Attitude used to refer to a persons bodily posture or position In social science attitude means posture of the mind BOX pg 8Allportcentral feature of attitudes is a readiness for response It is a preparation for behavioro Term attitude object includes people places ideas actions or situationso Attitudes have driving forceso 2 active functionsdirective encouraging some actions and not others and dynamic impel or motivate behavior o Attitudes are relatively enduring Attitudes are represented in memory as a part of a persons knowledge structures Consist of associated networks of interconnected beliefsTricomponential viewpoint Holds that an attitude is a single entity but that it has 3 aspects affective behavioral and cognitive the ABCs A Affective emotional component B Behavioral component Ones action tendencies toward the object C Cognitive component consisting of the ideas and beliefs that one has about the attitude object The thoughtemotionsbehavior distinction was made by Plato View requires a relatively high degree of consistency between the 3 facets but not perfect because then theres no reason for them to be separate Not all attitudes need to have these 3 distinguishable aspects Some people give more weight to different componentsSeparate entities viewpoint The 3 aspects above are separate entities which may not be related Advocated by FIshbein and Ajzen in which attitude is reserved solely for the affective dimension The cognitive dimension is beliefsprobability that an object has a particular characteristicsThe behavioral dimension is referred to as behavioral intentionsprobability that they will perform a particular behavior No necessary congruence among beliefs attitudes and behavioral intentionsLatent processing viewpoint A hidden process occurring within the individual an attitude and it uses this attitude as an explanation of the relationship between stimulus and responses An attitude has the status of an intervening variablea theoretical construct that is not observable in itself but which mediates the relationship between observable stimulus Has advantages of avoiding the over simplicity of the separate entities view Also avoids the requirement that the 3 components of an attitude should show a moderately high degree of congruenceAttitudes are inferredAttitude construction Process by which a person comes to express an attitude Weaker attitudes may include various partially inconsistent beliefs and stating them involves selecting which aspects to express Instances where someone doesnt have an existing belief about something so they construct oneBeliefsindicate a persons subjective probability that an object has a particular characteristic Distinguishes clearly between beliefs and attitudesAlthough there is an intermediate categoryevaluative beliefsOpinionOpinions are equivalent to beliefs Narrower in content or scope than attitudes and are often primarily cognitive The likelihood of an event or relationships regarding an object Too often used as a synonym for attitude even though its notValue Important life goal or societal condition desired by a person Broad and abstract Very special attitude objectsHabitseasily distinguishable from attitudes Frequently repeated patterns of behavior Standardized Learned through experienceTraitTraits are not generally evaluative Traits are broad behavioral patterns Public opinionshared opinions and attitudes of large groups of people who have particular characteristics in common First mention of public polls was used to indicate the strength of political candidates was in 1824Approaches to attitude and opinion research The four major disciplines that treat attitudes and opinions as part of their subject matter are sociology communication research political science and psychology Description is the most commonly used method for attitude study follow by measurement combination of the 2 is content analysis
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