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PSY320H1 Chapter Notes -Cognitive Dissonance, Group Dynamics, Reconsideration Of A Motion

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

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PSY320H1F: September 11th, 2012
Chapter 1 (p. 1 14)
What is an Attitude?
- An overall evaluation of an object that is based on cognitive, affective, and behavioral
Vary in two ways:
Valence (direction): positive vs. negative
Strength: strong vs. weak
- Anything that can be evaluated along a dimension of favourability can be conceptualized
as an attitude object; anything that is liked or disliked
Can be abstract or concrete
History of Attitude Research
A Starting Point
- Two most significant figures were Thurstone and Likert, who developed equal appearing
interval and Likert scales
Demonstrated that attitudes can be quantifiably measured
- Early researches also considered the degree to which attitudes influence behaviour
LaPiere: travelled with a Chinese couple in U.S. during an era when anti-Asian
prejudice prevailed, only 1/250 restaurants refused to serve them, when asked later
whether they would serve or not, only 1/250 said they would a persons attitude do
not necessary impact their behaviours
The Real World
- Researches in social psychology influenced by real world events (Ex. atrocities of WWII
study of conformity, power, and group dynamics)
- The study of attitudes gained momentum in an attempt to tackle social concerns
Adorno et al.: development of authoritarian attitudes (the social psychological basis
of anti-Semitic attitudes)
Developed the F-scale
Attempts to understand the dynamics of persuasion
Hovland et al.: how individuals respond to persuasive messages when and
how attitudes are most likely to change
Convergent approach: started with a particular phenomenon that needed
Treated the receiver of the persuasive message as passive
Festinger et al.: addressed other issue relevant to attitude change
Divergent approach: developing theories that would apply to wide range of
attitudinal phenomena
Cognitive dissonance theory: state of imbalance among beliefs
negative feeling motivated to change one belief to reduce negative
The study of attitude functions: why people hold attitudes
Smith et al. and Katz et al.: serve a number of functions and needs
Object appraisal function: the capacity of attitudes to serve as
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