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Chapter 7

PSYB10H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Sneakers, Embodied Cognition, Anagram

Course Code
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Textbook Notes Course Code Lec 4
Chapter #7 & Online Article
Chapter # 7 Attitudes, Behavior, and
Components and Measurements of Attitudes
Three Components of Attitudes
- Attitude: An evaluation of an object in a positive or negative fashion that includes three
components: affect, cognition, and behavior.
- At their core, then, attitudes involve affect (or emotion)how much someone likes or
dislikes an object, be it a politician, a landscape, an athletic shoe, a dessert, or himself
- Most attitude theorists maintain that attitudes involve more than affect
- Attitudes also involve cognitions—thoughts that typically reinforce a person’s feelings.
o These include knowledge and beliefs about the object, as well as associated
memories and images
- Finally, attitudes are associated with specific behaviors
o attitudes alert us to rewarding objects we should approach and to costly or
punishing objects we should avoid
Measuring Attitudes
- Attitudes are most commonly determined through simple self-report measures, such as
survey questions
- Likert scale: A numerical scale used to assess people’s attitudes; includes a set of
possible answers with labeled anchors on each extreme.
o For example, 1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree.
- One approach, developed by Russell Fazio and his team, is to measure the accessibility
of the attitudehow readily it comes to mind
- response latency: The amount of time it takes to respond to a stimulus, such as an
attitude question.
- A second way to assess the strength and importance of someone’s attitude is to
determine the centrality of the attitude to the person’s belief system
- implicit attitude measure An indirect measures of attitudes that does not involve a self-
- Investigators often use implicit attitude measures when there is reason to believe
people may be unwilling or unable to report their true feelings or opinions
- Implicit measures let researchers tap nonconscious attitudes—that is, people’s
immediate evaluative reactions they may not be aware of, or that may conflict with
their consciously endorsed attitudes.
- Finally, physiological indicators, such as the increased heart rate and sweaty palms
associated with fear, can capture people’s attitudes
Looking Back

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Textbook Notes Course Code Lec 4
Chapter #7 & Online Article
Attitudes can have three components: affect, cognition, and behavior. Researchers have
developed many ways to measure attitudes, including explicit self-reports, implicit indices, and
physiological measures.
Predicting Behavior from Attitudes
- LaPiere spent two years touring the United States with a young Chinese couple, visiting
numerous hotels, auto camps, restaurants, and cafés
o Although prejudice and discrimination against Chinese individuals were common
at the time, LaPiere and his traveling companions were denied service by only
one of the 250 establishments they visited.
o Maybe anti-Chinese prejudice wasn’t so strong after all
o To find out, LaPiere wrote to all of the establishments they had visited and asked
whether their policy was to serve “Orientals.”
Approximately 90 percent of those who responded said they would not, a
response rate that was stunningly inconsistent with what LaPiere actually
observed during his earlier tour of the country.
o This result was unfortunate in human terms because it indicated that anti-
Chinese prejudice was indeed rather robust
- After all, there are many reasons for failing to act on our attitudes
Attitudes can Conflict with Other Powerful Determinants of Behavior
- Attitudes all compete with other determinants of behavior
- The situationist message of social psychology (and of this book) suggests that attitudes
don’t always win out over these other determinants, and hence attitudes are not always
tightly connected to behavior
- One potent determinant of a person’s actions that can weaken the relationship between
attitudes and behavior is that person’s understanding of the prevailing norms of
appropriate behavior
Attitudes can be Inconsistent
- First, attitudes may conflict with one another.
o We might like great acting but dislike arrogance.
- Second, the different components of an attitude may not always align.
o In particular, there can be a rift between the affective component (what we feel
about Russell Crowe) and the cognitive component (what we think about him).
o When the affective and cognitive components are inconsistent, it’s no surprise
that the attitude may not predict behavior very well.
o The cognitive component might determine the attitude we express, but the
affective component might determine our behavior (or vice versa).

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Textbook Notes Course Code Lec 4
Chapter #7 & Online Article
Introspecting about the Reason for our Attitudes
- It turns out that coming up with the (wrong) reasons for an attitude you hold can
mislead you about what your attitude actually is
- introspection may lead us to focus on the easiest-to-identify reasons for liking or
disliking something at the expense of the real reasons for our likes and dislikes
- The contaminating effect of introspection is limited to those times when the true source
of our attitude is hard to pin down, such as when the basis of an attitude is largely
The Mismatch between General Attitudes and Specific Targets
- Several studies have shown that consistency between attitudes and behavior is higher
when they are both at the same level of specificity.
- Highly specific attitudes typically do a better job of predicting specific behaviors
- general attitudes typically do a better job of predicting how a person behaves “in
general” across a number of different instances of, say, environmentalism, political
activism, or xenophobia
- what most people usually think of as attitudes about different classes of people, places,
things, and events are often expressions of attitudes about a prototype of a given
- Therefore, if we encounter a specific situation or person who doesn’t fit the prototype,
our behavior probably won’t reflect our stated attitude. Our general attitude doesn’t
apply to that particular person.
Automatic Behavior that Bypasses Conscious Attitudes
- The influence of an attitude on behavior is sometimes conscious and deliberate: we
reflect on our attitudes and then decide how to behave
- But often our behavior is more reflexive than reflective, and the surrounding context
elicits the behavior automatically
- sometimes our automatic behavior is consistent withindeed, caused byour attitudes
- one of the purposes of attitudes is to enable us to respond quickly, without having to do
much weighing of pros and cons
- some types of automatic behavior bypass our attitudes altogether, as when we jump
away from something that looks like a snake in the grass
o When such actions are elicited directly from the surrounding context, the
connection between our conscious attitudes and our behavior is necessarily
Looking Back
Attitudes can be surprisingly weak predictors of behavior. The reasons are that attitudes
sometimes conflict with social norms about appropriate behavior; different attitudes can
conflict with one another, or there might be a rift between affective and cognitive attitude
components; examining the reasons for attitudes can cause confusion about our true feelings;
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