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Chapter 6

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 6: Attitudes and Attitude Change- Influencing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviour THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF ATTITUDE Attitude: evaluation of a person, object or idea An attitude is made up of 3 components: Affective- emotional reactions towards the attitude object (admire the car) Cognitive- thoughts and beliefs about the attitude object (most fuel efficient car you can buy) Behavioural- actions or observable behaviour toward the attitude object (buy the car) Affectively based attitude: attitude based on people’s emotions and feelings about the attitude object (values/attitudes toward death penalty, premarital sex, abortion…) affectively based attitudes have 3 key features:  They don’t result from a rational examination of the issues  They aren’t governed by logic (persuasive arguments about the issues rarely change an affectively based attitude  They are often linked to people’s values so that trying to change them challenges those values Cognitively based attitude: a person’s beliefs about the properties of an attitude object when attitudes are negative toward particular groups they are often cognitively based (negative attitude towards homosexuals and Pakistanis). Affectively is positive Behaviourally based attitude: observations of how one behaves toward an attitude object (people don’t know how they feel until they see how they behave) Explicit attitudes: consciously endorse and can easily report (Sam says he sees all races as equal) Implicit attitudes: involuntary, uncontrollable, and at times unconscious (Sam is scared of a certain race) WHEN WILL ATTITUDES PREDICT BEHAVIOUR? The relation between attitudes and behaviour is not nearly as straightforward as 1 would expect someone holds a positive attitude about a politician, doesn’t mean the person will go and vote Theory of planned behaviour: the best predictors of a person’s planned, deliberate behaviours are the person’s attitudes toward specific behaviours, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control question is whether they intend to perform the behaviour or not, which is determined by 3 things:  Their attitudes toward the specific behaviour (not general)  Their subjective norms (beliefs about how other view their behaviour)  Their preconceived behavioural control (ease at which they believe can perform the behaviour) ATTITUDE CHANGE Persuasive communication: one that advocates a particular side of an issue (speech, or TV ad) The Yale Attitude Change Approach: source of the communication- how expert or attractive the speaker is communication itself- quality of the argument, whether speaker presents both sides of the issue nature of the audience- which kinds of appeals work with hostile versus friendly audiences 2 influential theories of persuasive communications: systematic persuasion model- theory that there are 2 ways in which persuasive communication can cause attitude change:  Systematic processing- people either process the merits of the arguments  Heuristic processing- people are swayed by factors that are peripheral to the message itself (“Experts are always right”) elaboration likelihood model-theory that there are 2 ways in which persuasive communication can cause attitude change:  Central route- when people are motivated and have the ability to pay attention to the arguments in the communication (having the ability to pay attention, no distractions)  Peripheral route- when people don’t pay attention (bored, tired…) to the arguments but are instead swayed by surface characteristics (who gave the speech, how long it is…) Fear-arousing communication: persuasive message that attempts to change people’s attitudes by arousing their fears (scare people into practising safer sex, wearing seat belts, staying away from drugs) need to
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