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PSY220H5 (98)
Chapter 4

PSY220 chapter 4 textbook notes

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

CHAPTER 4 -attitude: favourable or unfavourable evaluative reaction toward something or someone, exhibited in one’s beliefs, feelings, or intended behaviour -ABC’s of attitudes: affect (feelings), behaviour tendency and cognition (thoughts) HOW WELL DO OUR ATTITUDES PREDICT OUR BEHAVIOUR? Are we all hypocrites? -moral hypocrisy: appearing moral without being so -example: Batson presented participants with an appealing task (included a reward) and a dull task (no reward). Participants had to assign themselves to one of the tasks and a supposed second participant to the other…even though 1/20 thought assigning themselves the better task was the moral thing to do, 80% ended up doing it When attitudes predict behaviour -when social influences on what we say are minimal -social psychologists have ways for minimizing social influences on people’s attitudes reports such as facial muscle responses to various statements – look for a microsmile or a microfrown to indicate the participant’s attitude towards that given statement -implicit association test (IAT): computer-driven assessment of implicit attitudes. Uses reaction times to measure people’s automatic associations between attitude objects and evaluative words. Easier pairings (and faster responses) are taken to indicate stronger unconscious associations -explicit and implicit attitudes may predict behaviour together better than either alone -implicit and explicit attitudes frequently diverge for attitudes formed early in life (ex: racial/gender attitudes)…implicit attitudes being the better predictor of behaviour quite often -disadvantages for the IAT – not reliable enough fro use in assessing and comparing individuals -a score that suggests relative bias doesn’t distinguish a positive bias for one group from a negative bias against another -when other influences on behaviour are minimal -principle of aggregation: the effects of an attitude on behaviour become more apparent when we look at a person’s average behaviour rather than isolated acts -when attitudes specific to behaviour are examined -when the measured attitude is general and the behaviour is specific there is no close correspondence between words and actions -attitudes predicted behaviour in all 26 studies performed if the measured attitude was directly pertinent to the situation -attitudes will predict behaviour: -when we minimize other influences on our attitude statements and our behaviour -when attitude is specifically relevant to observed behaviour -attitude predicts behaviour better when it is strong and brought to mind -when attitudes are potent -bringing attitudes to mind -those who take time a moment to review their past behaviour express attitudes that better predict their future behaviour -attitudes become potent if we think about them -mirrors make people more self-aware -71% continued working on their IQ test past the bell but only 7% did when working in front of a mirror -people who are self-aware tend to be more consistent between their words and their deeds -forging strong attitudes through experience -people are more likely to act towards a cause if they have personally experienced the issue -attitudes are more accessible, enduring and more likely to guide actions WHEN DOES OUR BEHAVIOUR AFFECT OUR ATTITUDES? Role playing -role: set of norms that define how people in a given social position should behave -norms: rules for accepted and expected behaviour – “proper” behaviour -Zimbardo wondered if prison brutality is a product of evil prisoners/guards or whether the roles of guard/prisoner would embitter even compassionate people (do the people make the place violent or the place make the people violent?) -randomly assigned some students to either prison guard or prisoner -they quickly absorbed the roles they played – ex: guards devised cruel/degrading routines -our actions depend on social situation and dispositions -gender roles -gender role: set of behaviour expectations for males and females -socialized into gender roles early on When saying becomes believing -we are prone to adjust our messages to our listeners and having done so, to believe the altered message The foot-in-the-door phenomenon -foot-in-the-door phenomenon: tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request -ex: Pliner found 46% of participants willing to give to the Cancer Society when approached directly. Others asked a day ahead to wear a pin publicizing the drive (in which everyone agreed) were nearly twice as likely to donate -when people commit themselves to public behaviours and perceive these acts as their own doing, they believe more strongly in what they have done -low-ball technique: a tactic for getting people to agree to something. People who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante. People who receive only the costly request are less likely to go along with it Evil and moral acts -evil results sometimes from gradually escalating commitments -ex: tell a white lie  that wasn’t so bad  tell a bigger lie -tend not to hurt only those we dislike but also to dislike those we hurt (helps us justify why we are doing it in the first place) -character is reflected in what we do when we think no one is looking -moral action, especially when chosen and not coerced, affects moral thinking -ex: those children who were given the mild threat were more likely to not play with the toy several weeks later than those children given the severe threat  mild threat children apparently internalized their decision…new attitude controlled their subsequent action Social movements -society’s law and behaviour can have a strong influence on an individual’s behaviour -patriotic actions (ex: singing the national anthem) strengthen patriotic attitudes -the “start-small-and-build” tactic is an effective application of the foot-in-the-door technique WHY DOES OUR BEHAVIOUR AFFECT OUR ATTITUDES? -3 reasons why people sometimes internalize their self-presentations as genuine attitude changes: -self-presentation theory: for strategic reasons we express attitudes that make us appear consistent -cognitive dissonance theory: to reduce discomfort, we justify our actions to ourselves -self-perception theory: our actions are self-revealing (look towards our behaviour when unsure about our feelings or beliefs) Self-presentation: impression management -self-presentation theory: assumes our behaviour aims to create desired impressions -make a good impression to gain social/material rewards, feel better about ourselves, become more secure in our social identities -we express attitudes that match our ac
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