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Chapter 12

PSY100 Psychological Science (3rd Ed.) Textbook Notes Chapter 12

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University of Toronto St. George
Alison Luby

CHAPTER 12 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY How Attitudes Guide Behavior -Attitudes: our evaluations of objects, of events, or of ideas -people develop negative attitudes about new objects more quickly than they develop positive attitudes -Mere Exposure Effect: greater exposure to an item, and therefore greater familiarity with it, causes ppl to have more positive attitudes about the item Ppl prefer reversed photos of themselves b/c it corresponds to what they see when they look in the mirror -attitudes can be conditioned: e.g. advertisers use classical conditioning (attractive celebrity paired w/ a product to develop positive attitudes about product); operant conditioning also shapes attitudes (develop positive attitude towards studying after you are rewarded w/ good grades after studying) -the stronger and more personally relevant the attitude, the more likely it will predict behavior, be consistent over time, and be resistant to change -Attitude Accessibility: the ease with which a person can retrieve memories related to an attitude; predicts behavior consistent w/ the attitude easily activated attitudes are more stable, predictive of behavior and resistant to change e.g. the more quickly you recall you like a course, the more likely you will attend lecture and read textbook -Explicit Attitudes: those you know about; can report to other ppl -Implicit Attitudes: influence feelings and behavior at an unconscious level; shape behavior w/o awareness e.g. purchasing product endorsed by celebrity even though you have no conscious memory of having seen celebrity advertise product Implicit Association Test used to asses implicit attitudes: a reaction time test that can identify implicit attitudes; measures how quickly we associate concepts/objects w/ positive or negative words Cognitive Dissonance Theory (Leon Festinger 1957) -sometimes attitudes may not guide behavior -Cognitive Dissonance: an uncomfortable mental state due to conflicts between attitudes or between attitudes and behavior (e.g. smoking even though you know it might kill you) dissonance causes anxiety and tension and therefore motivates ppl to reduce the dissonance and relieve displeasure by changing attitudes/behavior or rationalizing/trivializing the discrepancies E.g. for American prison guards at Abu Ghraib, treatment of prisoners dissonant from their views on how ppl should be treated; relieved dissonance by developing negative attitudes towards prisoners -holding positive attitudes about two options but having to choose one causes dissonance; postdecisional dissonance motivates the person to focus on positive aspects of one choice and negative aspects of the other; effects occurs automatically and w/o awareness E.g. person leaning towards buying truck focuses on positive things about truck and negative about car -dissonance can change attitude: Festingers dissonance study: participants did extremely boring task and were paid $1 or $20 to lie to another participant that it was enjoyable; those paid $1 reported that the task was more enjoyable than those paid $20 Those paid $1 had insufficient monetary justification for lying; they changed attitude about the task to reduce dissonance (to justify why they went along with the lie) $20 was enough justification; those paid $20 did not experience dissonance and didnt change attitude about task -when ppl put themselves through pain/embarrassment to join a group, they experience dissonance; (e.g. hazing); they reduce dissonance by inflating importance of group and commitment to it Persuasion -Persuasion: the active and conscious effort to change attitudes through the transmission of a message -persuasion leads to attitude change in two fundamental ways: -Elaboration Likelihood Model: theory of how persuasive messages leads to attitude changes; says that persuasion works via two routes: Central Route: ppl pay attention to arguments, use rational cognitive process; leads to strong attitudes that last over time and resistant to change Peripheral Route: ppl minimally process the message; leads to more impulsive action (e.g. person decides to buy product b/c celebrity endorsed it) Sources who are attractive and credible are the most persuasive How We Form Impressions of Others: Nonverbal Behavior -Nonverbal behavior: the facial expressions, gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which one communicates w/ others -facial expression important: newborns prefer to look at picture of human face rather than blank outline of head; ppl in Western cultures make eye contact when speaking to someone; other groups like Native American tribes think making direct eye contact is disrespectful to elders -people can make accurate judgments based on few seconds of observing nonverbal behavior: thin slices of behavior Judges nonverbal behavior can predict whether jury finds defendants guilt/not guilty; judges unconsciously may indicate beliefs about guilt through facial expression, tone of voice, etc. Participants accurately judged sexual orientation after watching short silent video or figural outline of someone walking or gesturing; gait provides information about affective state (e.g. ppl w/ bounce in step are happy) Attributions -Attributions: peoples causal explanations for events or actions, including other ppls behaviors -ppl want to draw inferences b/c they need order and predictability; prefer to think things happen for reasons -Just World Hypothesis: in this perspective, victims must have done something to justify what happened to them; making attributions about victim -Personal Attributions (Internal/Dispositional Attributions): explanations that refer to things within people, e.g. abilities, traits, moods -Situational Attributions (External Attributions): refer to outside events, like weather, accidents, or ppls actions -attributions can vary also in stability and controllability E.g. weather is situational, unstable, and uncontrollable Depressed ppl attribute failures to their incompetence (uncontrollable and permanent); nondepressed ppl attribute failures to temporary, uncontrollable fa
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