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Chapter 6

PSYC 2310 Chapter 6 Notes.docx

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PSYC 2310
Jeffrey Yen

Chapter 6 – Attitude Formation and Change Attitudes – positive and negative evaluations of people, objects, events, and ideas.  Attitudes are formed very quickly – and often without conscious awareness. They can also be shifted and changed.  Information that is prominent (salient) influences our attitudes.  One of the most common ways in which people form attitudes is through the information they receive from their social environment.  Negative information seems to have a stronger influence on people’s evaluations – the negativity bias. o We should respond more quickly to painful stimuli, for example, than pleasant ones. Classical Conditioning Classical conditioning – is a type of learning in which a neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with a stimulus that elicits a specific response, and eventually the neutral stimulus elicits that response on its own.  Example: dogs will start to salivate simply in response to hearing a bell ring, if that ring is first rung repeatedly just before the presentation of food. Mere exposure – is the phenomenon by which the greater the exposure that we have to a given stimulus, the more we like it.  Example: you initially dislike a song that comes on the radio, but over time you hear it again, and again, you actually grow to like it. Subliminal persuasion – is a type of persuasion that occurs when stimuli are presented at a very rapid and unconscious level.  Example: people who felt sad were more motivated to seek company after subliminal messages or primes related to positive social interactions.  Better performance was associated with subliminal exposure to the idea of doing things out of a sense of autonomy rather than because one is somehow compelled to. Operant Conditioning Operant conditioning – is a type of learning in which behaviour that is rewarded increases, whereas behaviour that is punished decreases. Example: if a little boy who wants a doll for Christmas is ridiculed by his parents, he is likely to form a negative attitude toward dolls, whereas a little girl would be praised by her parents.  This is one reason why most children express attitudes that are similar to those of their parents.  Compared to men, women tended to have more socially compassionate attitudes, such as opposing the death penalty, and favouring gun control. Women also tended to have more traditionally moral attitudes, such as disapproval of divorce and abortion. Observational Learning/Modelling Observational learning/modelling – is a type of learning in which people’s attitudes and behaviour are influenced by watching other people’s attitudes and behaviours. Example: children may learn that they should have a negative attitude toward broccoli or a positive attitude toward candy.  Children’s intentions regarding their future safety behaviour are heavily influenced by their observations of their parent’s behaviour.  This indicated that attitudes are learned and that observing others facilitates such learning.  Those who we identify with serve as more effective models for our own behaviour. Strength  Strong attitudes are more likely to predict behaviour than weak ones. Importance  Attitudes that are high in importance are more predictive of our behaviour.  People with young children in school are more likely to donate money to school boards. Direct Experience  If you’re asked about your attitude toward reporting a student whom you saw cheating on a midterm, your attitude will be more predictive of your behaviour if you have actually been in that situation and had to decide whether to report the person to your professor.  It is more difficult to predict what you would do if you’ve never been in the situation. Accessibility  The ease or accessibility with which one’s attitude comes to mind can also influence the attitude behaviour link.  People who are well informed about a topic are likely to have a greater attitude-behaviour consistency than those who are poorly informed.  When people with a less accessible attitude encounter the attitude object, they may act before they’ve had time to access their attitude, increasing the chance that their behaviour won’t be in line with the attitude.  Situational factors can also influence accessibility, and in turn the attitude-behaviour link.  Situational factors that decrease self-awareness, and/or impair cognition, can weaken the attitude-behaviour link. Specificity  Attitudes toward a specific behaviour show a stronger link to that behaviour than attitudes that are more general. Social Norms Social norms – are the implicit and explicit rules that a specific group has for its members on values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours.  These rules influence whether our attitudes predict our behaviour, in part because our behaviour is often heavily influenced by other in our group. Theory of planned behaviour – is a theory that describes people’s behaviour caused by their attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control. Example: whether you wear sunscreen each time you go to the beach is influenced by whether you intend to wear sunscreen. These intentions, in turn, are influenced by your attitudes, your subjective norms, and your perceived behavioural control.  The theory of planned behaviour is a particularly strong predictor of behaviour when that behaviour is relatively easy for a person to control. Prototype/Willingness model – is a model that describes the role of prototypes in influencing a person’s willingness to engage in the behaviour in a given situation.  Prototypes are social images of what people who engage in the behaviour are like.  If, for example, you see students who drink and drive as rather stupid and careless, you should be less likely to engage in this behaviour yourself because your prototype of people who do this behaviour is negative. The Trans-Theoretical Model of Behaviour (TTM) Trans-theoretical model – is a model that views a change in behaviour as a progression through a series of stages, including pre contemplation, contemplation,
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