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Psychology (1,468)
PSYCH 2B03 (108)
Chapter 4


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Jennifer Ostovich

CHAPTER 4: BEHAVIOUR AND ATTITUDES - tobacco industry is responsible for fatalities equal to 14 loaded and crashed jumbo jets a day  upper executives: way for self-expression of individuality, and to protect against society • do these statements reflect privately held attitudes? • How do they internalize these attitudes? • Does it reflect social pressure? - Attitude: a favourable or unfavourable evaluative reaction toward something or someone, exhibited in one’s beliefs, feelings, or intended behaviour • When we have to respond quickly, how we feel about it can guide how we react • A person who believes a certain ethnic group is lazy and aggressive  feel dislike for such people  intend to act in discriminatory manner - ABC of attitudes: affect (feeling), behaviour (intention), cognition (thoughts) How well do our attitudes predict behaviour? - our private beliefs and feelings determine our public behaviour - want to alter the way people act  change their hearts & minds Are we all hypocrites? - beginning: to know people’s attitudes is to predict their actions  later concluded that changing attitudes does not change behaviour - we know how to find reasons for what we do, but not good at doing what we find reasons for - people’s expressed attitudes hardly predicted their varying behaviours (attitude toward cheating  little relation to likelihood of actually cheating, self described racial attitudes provided little clue to behaviours in actual situations, church and church attendance) - moral hypocrisy • University student presented with an appealing task (earn raffle ticket) and a dull task (no + consequences)  students had to assign themselves to one, and other participant to the other • 1/20 believed that assigning + task to themselves was the most moral  but 80% did so • Follow-up: given coin which they could flip even if they flipped the coin  90% assigned themselves to the + task • Sticker indications: 24/28 who made the coin toss  assigned themselves the + task - Morality + greed  greed wins - People don’t play the game they talk  attempts to change behaviour by changing attitudes often fail - Warnings of the dangers of smoking have little effects on those who already smoke - Increasing public awareness of desensitizing and brutalizing effects of prolonged diet of TV violence  stimulated people to voice a desire for less violent programming  but people still watch media murder as much as ever - Sex education affects attitudes toward abstinence w/o long term behaviours - Original thesis: attitudes determine actions  Antithesis: attitude determines nothing - But convictions and feelings must sometimes make a difference When attitudes predict behaviour - behaviour and expressed attitudes differ because they are subject to other influences When social influences on what we say are minimal - politicians who once overwhelmingly passed a salary increase for themselves  overwhelmingly defeated the same bill moments later - fear of criticism! We say what we think others want to hear - it’s hard to measure attitudes, we measure expressed attitudes  today: • measure facial muscle responses to statements (subtly assessing attitudes)- microsmile, microfrown • bogus pipeline o people who are first persuaded that lie detectors work may then admit the truth o show Ss how well it displayed (previously obtained) attitudes  ask them new questions  admitted more prejudice when hooked up • implicit association test (IAT): use reaction times to measure how quickly people associate concepts o Measure implicit racial attitudes by assessing whether white people take longer to associate positive words with black rather than white faces o Implicit attitudes have correlated well with self-reported attitudes When other influences on behaviour are minimal - Inner attitudes guide us as well as the situation - social influences can be enormous enough to induce people to violate their deepest convictions - Peter denied Jesus, prisoners may lie to placate their captors - Can predict averages - People’s general attitude toward religion poorly predicts whether they will go to worship next weekend (weather, how one is feeling etc)  but religious attitudes predicts quite well the totally quantity of religious behaviours over time - Principle of aggregation: the effect of an attitude on behaviour becomes more apparent when we look at a person’s aggregate or average behaviour rather than at isolated acts - Attitudes will predict behaviour when we minimize other influences on our attitude statements and our behaviour When attitudes specific to behaviour are examined - there is little correspondence between measured general attitude (attitude towards Asians) and specific behaviours (decision whether to help a particular asian couple)- shouldn’t expect correspondence between words and actions - attitudes did not predict behaviour but attitude did predict behaviour in which the measured attitude was directly pertinent to the situation - attitudes toward the general concept of “health fitness” poorly predict specific exercise and dietary practices, whether people jog is more likely to depend on their opinions about the costs and benefits of jogging - relevant, specific attitudes do predict behaviour • attitudes toward condom use strongly predicts condom use • attitudes toward recycling (not general attitudes toward environmental issues) predict participation in recycling - best to alter people’s attitudes toward specific practices in order to change health habits through persuasion When attitudes are powerful - much of behaviour is automatic/familiar scripts/mindless reaction  adaptive - frees our minds to work on other things - when we are on automatic pilot, our attitudes are dormant Bringing attitudes to mind - behaviour is less automatic in novel situations  think before we act - attitudes guide our self behaviour when we think about them (people who take a few moments to review their past behaviour express attitudes that better predict their future behaviour) • 120 students asked to indicate attitudes toward affirmative-action employment policies  invited to act as jurors in a sex- discrimination court case • If they were first induced to remember their attitudes (organize your thoughts and views) attitudes predicted verdicts - Self-conscious people are usually in touch with their attitudes • Therefore making people self aware (mirror) can promote consistency between words and deeds • Those who did an anagram-solving task (infront of the mirror) cheated less as they were made self-aware • When people flipped the coin infront of the mirror  coin flip became scrupulously fair (half of self-conscious participants assigned the other person to the positive task) The power of attitudes forged through experience - when attitudes arise from experience, they are far more likely to endure and guide actions - expt: housing shortage forced university to assign some first-year students to several weeks on cots in dormitory lounges while others basked in the luxury permanent rooms - students in both groups had equal negative attitudes about the situation and how the administration dealt with it - given opportunities to act  only those whose attitudes grew from direct experience with the temporary housing acted - those from the experience were more thoughtful, certain, stable, accessible, emotionally charged, resistant to attack - when emotional and belief components of an attitude are consistent, attitudes moves behaviour  as strong attitudes do Summary - attitudes and actions feed each other, but attitudes (assessed as feelings toward some object or person) are often poor predictors of actions - changing people’s attitudes typically fails to produce much change in behaviour - that is because our expression of attitudes and our behaviours are each subject to many influences - there is a connection btwn what we think and feel and what we do  but connection is weaker than we think - Our attitudes predict our actions if: o other influences are minimized o the attitude is specific to the action o the attitude is potent- because something reminds us of it, or because we gained it in a manner hat makes it strong When does behaviour affect our attitudes? - we think ourselves into a way of acting and act ourselves into a way of thinking - behaviour determines attitudes - we stand up for what we believe, and we come to believe in what we stand up for • hypnotist told Sarah to take off her shoes  when asked why she did so afterwards  because it was hot and tired • electrodes stimulated George to move his head  why did you move your head  unaware of the stimulation, “i’m looking for my slipper, i heard a noise” • Carol’s seizures relieved by surgically separating 2 brain hemispheres  sheepish smile spreads across her face when she sees a nude photo  explains and believes that it’s because of the funny machine - Attitudes follow our behaviour Role playing - role: a set of norms that define how people in a given social position ought to behave - when we step into a new social role  we must perform its actions  unease seldom lasts - first enter university: supersensitive to new social situation and try to act appropriately, root out high-school behaviour/observe speech and actions as they are un-natural to us  one day we notice that our sorority enthusiasm or pseudo-intellectual talk no longer seems forced - Zimbardo: simulated prison-do people make the place violent or does the place make people violent? • Some were given the role as guards- uniforms, whistles- and instructed them to enforce the rules • Others were prisoners- locked in cells and made to wear humiliating outfits • Guards began to disparage the prisoners, some devised cruel and degrading routines • Prisoners broke down, rebelled, became apathetic • Growing confusion between reality and illusion, role-playing and self-identity • Planned two-week simulation called off after 6 days - In reality- Iraq prison- US soldiers engaged in brutal and demeaning treatments of their prisoners, soldiers sat by and watched atrocities w/o raising a warning or trying to stop them - Role of prison guard brought out the hostility, prevents intervening to help those who are clearly in need - What is unreal/artificial role can evolve into what is real  we act a role that shapes our attitudes Gender roles - gender roles: a set of behaviour expectations (norms) of males and females - women do more household work, cooking/dishwashing are the least shared household chores - children books have girls 4 times more often using household objects - women answered a questionnaire on which they described themselves to a tall, unattached, senior man they expect to meet • those who led to believe his ideal woman was home-oriented and deferential to her husband presented themselves as more traditionally feminine than women expecting to meet a man who liked strong, ambitious women • those who expected to meet a non-sexist man behaved more intelligently on a problem-solving test: solved 18% more problems (vs. those who were expecting to meet a man who likes traditional women) • this adapting themselves to fit the man’s image was less pronounced if the man was less desirable (short, attached freshman) • men similarly adapted their self-presentations to meet desirable women’s gender role expectations - gender roles shape our actions When saying becomes believing - people often adapt what they say to please listeners - quicker to tell good news than bad, adjust message toward listener’s position - people often feel bad about the deceit when they have to talk about something/support that they doubt - but they begin to believe what they are saying (not bribed, coerced) - when there’s no external explanation for one’s words  saying becomes believing - university students read a personality description of someone and then summarized it for someone else who was believed to like/dislike this person  students wrote a more positive description when the recipient liked the person, and having said positive things  liked the person more themselves • when asked to recall what they had read  remembered the description as being more positive than it was - we are prone to adjust messages to our listeners, and having done so we believe the altered message The foot-in-the-door phenomenon - the tendency for people who have first agreed to small request to comply later with a larger request - agreed to display a small sign vs. not  those were more likely to consent to put a large ugly sign - examples: • those who were asked to wear a lapel pin publicizing the drive the day before (Cancer Society donations) were twice as likely to donate • ending blood drive reminders call with ‘we’ll count on seeing you’ (response)  increased show up rate • in internet chat rooms: those who were first asked a smaller request (can you tell me how to look at someone’s profile)  more willing to help when larger request followed (help me send an email) • invite internet users to sign petition against land mines  tripled the rate of French internet users contributing to the child land-mind victims organization - when people commit themselves to public behaviours and perceive these acts to be their own doing  become to believe more strongly in what they have done - low ball technique: look @ old notes - harmless initial commitment (returning a card for more information) moves us toward larger commitment - sales people exploit the power of small commitments when trying to bind people to purchase agreements - many places now have laws that allow customers of door-to-door salespeople a few days to think over their purchase and cancel - many companies now have the customer, rather than the salesperson to fill out the agreement  written it themselves  people usually live up to their commitment Evil and moral acts - attitudes-follow-behaviour principle works with immoral acts as well - evil act can make a worse act easier - cruel acts can corrode the conscience of those who perform them - harming a innocent victim (hurtful comments, delivering electric shocks)  aggressors to disparage victims (justify behaviour) - we hurt those we dislike and dislike those we hurt • a group that holds another in slavery will likely come to perceive the slaves as having traits that justify their oppression - the more one harms another and adjusts one’s attitudes  easier harm-doing becomes - both evil and moral acts shape the self - moral action, especially when chosen rather than coerced, affects moral thinking • elementary children were introduced to a battery-controlled robot  researcher instructed child not to play with it while he was out of the room • ½ were given mild threat vs. severe threat • Weeks later, children left to play in the room again, those who were given a mild deterrent resisted to play with it • They had an early conscious choice not to play with the toy  internalized their decision  controlled subsequent action (deterrent was strong enough to elicit the desired behaviour yet mild enough to leave them with a sense of choice) - We will have to wait for a long time for the heart to change (teaching/preaching)  but if we legislate moral actions, can indirectly affect heartfelt attitudes • Seat belt laws initially seemed burdensome  but seat belt use has risen dramatically and most people now favour these seatbelt laws • Supreme court ruled that schools segregated by race were inherently unfair and that schools need to desegregate  % of whites in US favouring integrated schools doubled • Having grown up with helmets  NHL players now all wear helmets as they believe they are useful (prior: older players saw it as a measure of toughness-no helmet) - Laws do not always lead to adoption of consistent attitudes - But under right conditions, people’s attitudes follow their behaviours even when these behaviours are required • Positive behaviour toward someone fosters liking for that person • Doing a favour for an experimenter, tutoring a student  increases liking of the person helped • If you wish to love someone more, act as if you do Social movements - Germans’ participation in Nazi rallies, uniforms, “heil Hitler”  established inconsistency between behaviour and belief/schizophrenic discomfort
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