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Chapter 6

Chapter 6- Jan. 19th.docx

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PSYC 2310

Chapter 6- Attitude Formation and Change January 19 2014 - Attitudes- positive and negative evaluations of people, objects, events, and ideas • Include three distinct components: o Affect o Cognition o Behavioural tendency How do we form attitudes? - Different ways in which people acquire their attitudes: • Information • Classical conditioning • Operant conditioning • Observational learning or modeling - Although both positive and negative information influences people’s evaluations of an object, situation, or person, negative information seems to have a stronger influences- negative bias • Negative information should be more important to our survival than positive information- we should respond more quickly to painful stimuli - Classical conditioning- a type of learning in which a neutral stimulus is repeatedly paired with a stimulus that elicits a specific response, and eventually the neural stimulus elicits that response on its own • First demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov • One way attitudes can be condition is through mere exposure- the phenomenon by which the greater the exposure that we have to a given stimulus, the more we like it • Subliminal persuasion- a type of persuasion that occurs when stimuli are presented at a very rapid and unconscious level o Can strengthen the attitudes we already hold - Operant conditioning- a type of learning in which behaviour that is rewarded increases, whereas behaviour that is punished decreases • Can influence attitude formation and attitude expression • Typically involves a direct or conscious process - Observational learning/modeling- a type of learning in which people’s attitudes and behaviour are influenced by watching other people’s attitudes and behaviour • Indicates that attitudes are learned and that observing others facilitates such learning • Modeling is more effective at shaping our attitudes when we’re observing someone who is similar to us because those who we identify with serve as more effective models for our own behaviour • Most effective when directly observing our parents, siblings, friends engaging in behaviour, also works to shape attitudes when we don’t know the person who is portraying the behaviour • Attitudes are often shaped by what people observe in the media which can have positive or negative consequences When do attitudes predict behaviour? - Attitudes vary in their strength, and strong attitudes are more likely to predict behaviour than weak ones- stronger attitudes are highly important to the person and are often formed on the basis of direct experience - Attitudes on topics that are highly important to us ate more predictive of our behaviour - Attitudes that are formed on the basis of direct experience are likely to be stronger and are therefore better predictors of behaviour - 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 greater attitude-behaviour consistency than those who are poorly informed, having a lot of information about a topic increases the accessibility of attitudes about this topic • Situational factors can also influence accessibility • Situational factors that decrease self-awareness, and/or impair cognition, can weaken the attitude-behaviour link - The more accessible an attitude is the stronger the relation between attitude and behaviour - Social norms- the implicit and explicit rules that a specific group has for its member 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 others in our group • Two theories that emphasize the role of social norms in predicting behaviour are the theory of planned behaviour and the prototype/willingness model - Theory of planned behaviour- a theory that describes people’s behaviour caused by their attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control • Describes behaviour as influenced by intentions- meaning whether a person plans to engage in a given behaviour o Intentions are influenced by a combination of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control • Particularly strong predictor of behaviour when that behaviour is relatively easy for a person to control - Prototype/willingness model- 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 • The model also describes the willingness to engage in the behaviour in a given situation - The trans-theoretical model (TTM)- a model that views a change in behaviour as a progression through a serious of stages, including pre contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance • Views a change in behaviour as a progression through a series of
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