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Psychology (9,578)
PSYB10H3 (611)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6 - Attitude and Attitude Change: Influencing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviour

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 6 Attitude and Attitude Change Influencing Thoughts Feelings and BehaviourThe Nature and Origin of Attitudesie March 1997 Quebec police were stunned when they learned that 5 people committed suicide in St Casimar village west of Quebec City The people died were members of the Solar Temple Cult Cult was led by Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro Those who joined the Solar Temple were wealthy professionals including the mayor of Richelieu Quebec and his wife people in upper management positions at Hydro Quebec a journalist and civil servant Jouret was charismatic spiritual with formidable powers of persuasion A cult member was interviewed and reported He asked all of us to empty our bank accounts She and her husband sold their property in Switzerland and handed 300000 to Jouret Others followed suit Most disturbing of all Jouret convinced cult members that the world was to b destroyed by fire and the only salvation was to take a death voyage by ritualized suicide to the star Sirius The cult attracted worldwide attention in October 1994 when building in a small village in Switzerland and a chalet owned by Di Mambro in Morin Heights Quebec erupted in flames Swiss firefighters discovered chapel where 22 cult members cloaked in ceremonial robs lay in a circle with their faces looking up at a Christlike figure resembling Jouret In Morin Heights police found the bodies of cult members clad in ceremonial robes and wearing red and gold medallions inscribed with TSTemple Solaire At the end of the day the death toll was 55 It is believed that Jouret and Di Mambro died in the Swiss Fires These deaths did not put an end to the cult Some of the remaining followers continued to take death voyageshowever by 1997 Quebec police believe that the Solar Temple had finally ended But not 5 suicides in StCasimir brough the total to 74 deathsAttitude Evaluation of a person object or idea Consists orreaction to somethingPeople are not neutral observers of the world but constant evaluators of what they see An attitude is made up of 3 components1 An affective component consisting of emotional reactions toward the attitude object ie another person or social issue2 A cognitive component consisting of thought and beliefs about the attitude object 3 A behavioural component consisting of actions or observable behaviour toward the attitude objectie consider your attitude toward a particular model of a car such asa Toyota Prius What is your affective reaction when you see the car Perhaps it triggers feelings of pleasure or excitement If you are a Canadian autoworker examining a new foreignmade model you may feel anger or resentmentWhere Do Attitudes Come From Not all attitudes are created equallyalthough attitudes have affective cognitive and behavioural components any given attitude can be based more on 1 type of experience than another Affectively Based Attitudes An attitude based more on emotions and feelings than objective appraisal of pluses and minuses is an affectively based attitude An example is falling in love with someone despite knowing that the person has a history of infidelity People seem to vote more with theirhearts than their minds ie basing their decision to vote for a political candidate on how they feel about the person or the part rather than on a wellreasoned evaluation of their policies Where do affectively based attitudes come from One source is peoples values such as their religions and moral beliefs ie attitudes about issues like abortion death penalty premarital sex are often based on ones value systemAffectively based attitudes have certain key features in common1 They do not result from a rational examination of the issues2 They are not governed by logic ie persuasive arguments about the issues seldom change an affectively based attitude3They are often linked to peoples values so that trying to change them challenges those valuesExplicit VS Implicit Attitudes Once an attitude develops it can exist at 2 levels1 Explicit Attitudes Attitudes that we consciously endorse and can easily report2 Implicit Attitudes Attitudes that are involuntary uncontrollable and at time consciousConsider Sam a white middleclass uni student who believes that all races are equal and who abhors any kind of racial bias This is Sams explicit attitude in the sense that it is his conscious evaluation of members of other races that governs how he chooses to act However Sam has grown in a culture in which there are many negative stereotypes about minority groups and it is possible that some of these negative ideas have seeped into him in ways for which he is not fully aware When he is around people form Pakistan perhaps some negative feelings are triggered automatically and unintentionally If so he has negative implicit attitude towards Pakis which causes influences unconscious efforts such has how nervous he acts around themPeople can have explicit and implicit attitudes toward virtually anythingnot just races ie students believe explicitly that they hate math but have ea more positive attitude at an implicit levelhow do we know There have been many techniques that have been developed to measure peoples implicit attitudes One of the most popular is the Implicit Association TestIAT where people categorize words or pictures on a computerWhen Will Attitudes Predict BehaviourTHE RELATION BETWEEN HOW EXPLICIT ATTITUDES CHANGE AND THEIR RELATION TO BEHAVIOURie In early 1990s Richard LaPiere 1934 embarked on sightseeing troop across US with young Chinese Couple Because prejudice against Asians was commonplace among Americans at that time he was apprehensive about how his Chinese friends would be treated At each hotel campground and restaurant they entered LaPiere worried that his friends would confront antiAsian prejudice and that they would be refused service Of the 251 establishments only 1 refused to serve them After his trip LaPiere wrote a letter to each establishment that he and his friend had visited asking if it would serve a Chinese visitor Only 1 said they would More than 90 would definitely not the rest were undecided Peoples attitudesas expressed in their response to LaPieres written inquirywere in stark contrast to their actual behaviour towards LaPieres Chinese friends This study wasnt a controlled experiment As acknowledged there were several possible reasons why his results did not show consistency between peoples attitudes and behaviour ie he had no way of knowing whether the proprietors who answered his letter were the same people who had served him and his friends Further peoples attitudes could have changed In the months that passed they served the Chinese couple to the letter The lack of correspondence between peoples attitudes and what they actually did so striking that might question the assumption that behaviour routinely follows from attitudes When Allan Wicker 1969 received dozens of more methodologically sound studies he researcher the same conclusions Peoples attitudes are poor predictors of their behaviourThe Theory of Planned Behaviour Social psychologists have discovered that attitudes can actually predict behaviours quite wellbut only under certain conditions Azjans and Fishbeins theory of planned behaviour proposes that the best predictor of peoples behaviour is their intention ie whether they intend to perform the behaviour in question which is determined by 3 things1 Their attitudes toward the specific behaviour2 Their subjective norms3 Their perceived behavioural controlSpecific Attitudes The theory of planned behaviour holds that only specific attitudes toward the behaviour in question can be expected to predict that behaviour ie Researchers asked the sample of married women about their attitudes toward birth control pills ranging from the general the womens attitude toward birth control to the specific their attitude toward using birth control pills during the next 2 years 2 year later the women were asked whether they had used birth control pills at any time since the last interview The womens general attitude toward birth control did not predict their use that could have influence their decision such as concern about the longterm effects of the pills and their attitudes toward other forms of birth control The more specific the question was about the act of using birth control pills the better this attitude predicted their actual behaviourThis study helps explain why LaPiere found much inconsistency between peoples attitudes and behaviours Subjective Norms We need to measure peoples subjective normstheir beliefs about how people they care about will view the behaviour in question To predict someones intentions itan be as important to know these beliefs as to know hisher attitudesPerceived Behavioral Control Peoples intentions are influenced by perceived behavioural control which is the ease with which people to believe they can perform the behaviour There is considerable research support that asking people about these determinants of their intentionsattitudes toward specific
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