PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: System Justification, Terror Management Theory, Mortality Salience
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-Attitudes can influence behavior and behavior can influence attitudes. Attitudes on behavior is weaker
than most suspect, and behavior on attitudes is stronger.
The Three Components of Attitude
Attitude: And evaluation of an object in a positive or negative fashion that includes the three elements
of effect (how much people like or dislike and object), cognition (thoughts that typically reinforce a
person's feelings. Include knowledge, beliefs, associated memories and images about an object) and
-Our attitudes activate particular areas of the motor cortex that support specific actions.
Likert Scale: A numerical scale used to assess people's attitudes; it includes a set of possible answers
with labeled anchors on each extreme.
-This scale can lack the ability to differentiate between the strengths of people's attitudes, so a method
to help this is to measure the accessibility of the attitude. This is known as Response Latency: The time
it takes an individual to respond to a stimulus, such as an attitude question. Another way is to determine
the centrality of the attitude. Researchers do this by measuring a variety of attitudes within a domain
and calculating how strongly each attitude is linked to the others. Investigators often use Implicit
Attitude Measures: indirect measures of attitudes that do not involve self-report. Implicit measure like
this allow researchers to tap into automatic attitudes. Researchers sometimes also use non-verbal
measures of attitudes, like people smiling, or physiological indicators like heartbeat.
Predicting Behavior From Attitude
-We assume attitude consistently correlates with behavior based on our observations. Although, people
have many reasons for failing to act on their attitudes. So when are attitudes predictive of behavior and
when are they not?
Attitudes Sometimes Conflict with Other Powerful Determinants of Behavior
-Like dieting: attitude and behavior are often different. This is true about other attitudes...they all
compete with other determinants of behavior. Behaviors are sometimes avoided due to the scene they
Attitudes are Sometimes Inconsistent
-They can conflict
-There can be a rift between the affective component (what we feel) and the cognitive component
(what we think). This means attitude cannot predict behavior well.
Introspection about the Reasons for Our Attitudes
-When we introspect on reasons we focus on the things that are easy to identify. Ex: Thinking about why
we like someone can lead to confusion about what our true feelings really are.
-Introspection is not always harmful, though.
-When the basis of our attitudes is largely cognitive, the search for reasons is more likely to yield the real
reasons, and introspection is unlikely to diminish the relationship between attitude and behavior. This is
usually occurs when the basis of our attitude is largely affective.
Attitudes Are Sometimes Based on Secondhand Information
-Attitudes from direct (firsthand) experience predict behavior better than secondhand.
The Mismatch Between General Attitudes and Specific Targets
-The attitude behavior that is typically assessed is directed towards more specific attitudes.
-Consistency between attitude and behavior is higher when the attitude and behavior are at the same
level of specificity.
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