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Chapter 4

PSY220H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Social Comparison Theory, Twin, Chinese Canadians


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY220H1
Professor
Heather V.Fritzley
Chapter
4

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PSY220: Chapter 4 Attitudes (Lecture 3)
There is a generation gap in the attitudes toward same-sex marriages in Canada. Most adults between 18-29 support the
same-sex marriage laws compared to the adults 60 years and older
Attidue: evaluation of various aspects of the social world (virtually any) which can have ambivalence which are easier to
change
Strong attitudes tend to be better predictors of behaviours in domains to which they are relevant compared to
ambivalent attitudes
Attitudes influence our thoughts, even if they are not always reflected in overt behaviour
Attitudes often affect our behaviour mostly when attitudes are strong, well established and accessible.
ATTITUDE FORMATION: HOW ATTITUDES DEVELOP
THE ABCS OF ATTITUDE: AFFECT, BEHAVIOUR, COGNITION
1) Affective component: Affectively based attitudes - those that are based primarily on an individual’s feelings and
emotions
2) Behavioural component: Behaviourally based attitudes those that form after a person observes how he/she
behaves toward a certain object, person or situation
Self-perception theory: when we don’t know how we feel about a particular attitude object, we think back
to past behaviour toward the object to determine how we feel
3) Cognitive component: cognitively based attitudes those that are based primarily on a person’s thoughts and
beliefs about a particular object, person, or situation
This component allows us to think about the cost/benefits associated with the attitude object
Zanna and Rempel argued that although all attitudes contain these three components to some degree, any one
attitude can be based more on one component than another
BIOLOGY AND GENETICS
There exists a substantial heritable component in many different types of attitudes political, religious, vocational and other
attitudes (abortion, gay rights, homosexuality) and etc.
James Olson and coit is impossible to fully separate heredity and environment because they are intertwined
There are significant differences between the attitudes of the different types of twins (identical vs fraternal)
Attitudes of identical twins were significantly more likely to be similar than those of fraternal twins
Attitudes that were more highly heritable were more resistant to change and more strongly held
SOCIAL LEARNING
Social learning: the process through which we acquire new information, forms of behaviour or attitudes from other people
CLASSICAL CONDITIONING: LEARNING BY ASSOCIATION
Classical Conditioning: a basic form of learning in which one stimulus, initially neutral, acquires the capacity to
evoke reactions through repeated pairing with another stimulus. One stimulus becomes a ‘signal’ for the
presentation/occurrence of the other
This has a role in attitude formation especially for children looking to how their parents react to people
Classical conditioning can also occur when we are not aware of the stimuli
Subliminal conditioning: classical conditioning of attitudes by exposure to stimuli that are below the threshold of
conscious awareness
INSTRUMENTAL CONDITIONING
Instrumental conditioning: a basic form of learning in which responses that lead to positive outcomes are
strengthened while responses that lead to negative outcomes are weakened
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A child could learn which views are seen as ‘correct’ among people with whom they identify by being
praised/rewarded in various ways by their parents/others which plays an active role in shaping children’s attitudes
OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING
Observational learning: a basic form of learning in which individuals acquire new forms of behaviour as a result of
observing others. Also known as vicarious learning
This plays a big role in attitude formation child learn many things from watching their parents, even things they
may not wish for the children to acquire
Children generally learn as their parents do, not as they say
Also acquiring attitudes from exposure to mass mediamagazine, films and etc.
ROLE OF SOCIAL COMPARISON
Social comparison: the process through which we compare ourselves to others to evaluate our own abilities and
attitudes
We compare ourselves to other people to determine whether our view of social reality is correct or the extent to
which our views agree with others to conclude if our ideas and attitudes are accurate.
Research findings indicate that hearing others state negative views about a group can lead you to adopt similar
attitudes without ever meeting the people yourself.
People often change their attitudes to hold views closer to those of people they value and with whom they identify
CULTURAL INFLUENCES ONA TTITUDE FORMATION
People raised in one culture will often develop culture-specific attitudes and values that differ from those of
someone raised in another culture because of the norms, customs and institutions
Four dimensions of cultural values that Hofstede found
1) Individualism/Collectivism: Individualistic cultures are marked by loose social ties between individuals,
people tend to look out for themselves and close family friends
Tend to value individual achievement, autonomy, youth, security of individual
Collectivistic cultures are marked by individuals being integrated into a tightly knit social framework
where everyone looks out for the best interests of group
Group achievement and status, harmony, tradition, duty, respect for elderly and group security.
2) Power distance: defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of a culture accept the unequal
distribution of power in their culture`s institutions and organizations
Cultures that are higher in power distance accept and support unequal power distribution but
cultures that are low in power distance prefer equal distribution of power
3) Uncertainty Avoidance: the level of tolerance for uncertainty, ambiguity, and unstructured situations
Cultures higher in uncertainty avoidance are less tolerant of uncertain, ambiguous and
unstructured situations (Greece, Portugal)
Cultures lower in uncertainty avoidance (Canada, Jamaica) are more tolerant
4) Masculinity/Femininity: how the role played by men and women within a culture are distributed by the
culture
Countries higher in masculinity (japan, Austria), the roles played by men and women are sharply
differentiated with men being more assertive/competitive
Countries higher in femininity (Sweden, Norway) have roles played by men and women
overlapping, with both roles being characterised as caring and modest
Cross-cultural research on attitudes towards interracial dating and child-parent conflict
Uskul and co investigated cross-cultural and gender differences in attitudes toward interracial dating in
Chinese and European Canadians and toward a conflict between an adult child and their parents
Chinese Canadian males showed less favourable attitudes toward interracial dating than all other
groups
Chinese Canadians were more supportive of the parents in parent-child conflict than were
European Canadians
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ATTITUDE FUNCTIONS
Mere exposure: previous exposure to a stimulus leads to more positive attitudes toward that stimulus. This can occur even
when the previous exposure is not remembered
Attitudes can be viewed as almost automatic reactions to the world around us forming attitudes toward a class of stimuli
serves a number of useful functions
THE KNOWLEDGE FUNCTION OF ATTITUDES
Knowledge function: attitudes can aid in the interpretation of new stimuli and enable rapid response to attitude-
relevant information
Attitudes colour our perceptions and responses we view new information that offers support for our attitudes as
more convincing and accurate than information that refutes our attitudes
We perceive information that is weak as relatively strong when it is consistent with our existing attitudes
Attitudes are like an evaluative schema which can lead us astray
THE IDENTIFY FUNCTON OF ATTITUDES
Identify/self-expression function: attitudes can permit the expression of central values and beliefs and thereby
communicate who were are
If people believe something is important to their identity, they may find a way to express his/her attitudes by maybe
wearing clothing that represents that important thing
Researchers have found that we are more likely to adopt the attitude of someone with whom we share an important
identity
Fleming and Petty (2000) selected students who reported being high or low in identification with their gender group
Introduced ‘snickerdoodles’ to men and women as either one that is ‘women’s favourite snack food’ or
‘men’s favourite snack food’
Results showed that highly those who were highly identified with their gender group, a more favourable
attitude toward this new product was formed when the message was framed in terms of their own group
liking that food
For both men and women who were low in gender group identification, no differences in attitudes toward
the product were found
THE SELF-ESTEEM FUNCTION OF ATTITUDES
Self-esteem function: a function in which holding particular attitudes can help maintain or enhance feelings of self-
worth
Also consistent with social comparison theory, which states that we compare ourselves with others to evaluate our
own abilities and attitudes
Attitudes based on a moral conviction are good predictors of behaviour
Ego-defensive function: protecting ourselves from unwanted or unflattering views of ourselves by claiming particular
attitudes. People may claim to have a more accepting/positive attitudes towards issues/social groups than we really do.
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