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Chapter 12

Chapter 12

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Chapter Twelve: Social Psychology How do attitudes guide behavior? attitudes: the evaluation of objects, events, or ideas + feelings, opinions, and beliefs + shaped by social context and play an important role in how people evaluate and interact with other people + core beliefs and values that define who people are as human beings People form attitudes through experience and socialization: direct experience of or exposure to things provides information that shapes attitudes + as people encounter new objects, they explore them and learn about them + general: people develop negative attitudes about new objects more quickly than they develop positive attitudes the more a person is exposed to something, the more they tend to like it + the greater the familiarity with the exposure caused people to have more positive attitudes about it mere exposure effect attitudes can be conditioned + classical conditioning: ie: when people see an attractive celebrity paired with a product, people develop more-positive attitudes about the product.After conditioning, a formerly neutral stimulus triggers the same attitude response as the paired object (attractive celebrity effect) + operant conditioning: ie: if people are rewarded with good grades each time they study, they will develop a more positive attitude toward studying. Attitudes shaped by socialization + people in our lives, media, etc lead to what people should like, how they should feel about people who behave in certain ways, and how they should treat the environment Behaviors are consistent with strong attitudes: to the extent the attitudes are adaptive, they should guide behavior + generally: the stronger and more personally relevant the attitude, the more likely it will predict behavior, be consistent over time, and be resistant to change + the more specific the attitude, the more predictive it is;; attitudes formed through direct experience tend to predict behaviors better attitude accessibility: the ease with which a person can retrieve memories related to an attitude + predicts behavior consistent with the attitude + easily activated attitudes are more stable, predictive of behavior, and resistant to change attitudes can be explicit or implicit + explicit attitudes: attitudes that people can report I like bowling! :) + implicit attitudes attitudes that influence our feelings and behavior at an unconscious level. People access implicit attitudes from memory quickly, with little conscious effort or control. Amethod to assess implicit attitudes is the ImplicitAssociation Test, a reaction time test that can identify implicit attitudes + measures how quickly people associate concepts or objects with positive or negative words Discrepancies lead to Dissonance: cognitive dissonance: an uncomfortable mental state due to conflicts between attitudes or between attitudes and behavior + occurs when there is a contradiction between two attitudes or between an attitude and a behavior + ie: smoke when people know it will kill them dissonance theory: it causes anxiety and tension and therefore motivates people to reduce the dis- attitudes and behaviors; they sometimes also rationalize or trivialize the discrepancies holding positive attitudes about two options but having to choose one of them causes dissonance + person has to narrow the choice to 2/3 alternatives and then have to choose + post-decisional dissonance motivates people to focus on one option according to their positive aspects and the other option's negative aspects + occurs with minimal cognitive processing and without awareness Attitudes can be changed through persuasion: a number of forces other than dissonance can conspire to change attitudes + persuasion: the active and conscious effort to change attitudes through the transmission of a message + most likely to occur when people pay attention, understand, find it convincing; addition, message must be memorable so its impact lasts over time. + may lead to attitude change elaboration likelihood model: a theory of how persuasive messages lead to attitude changes + persuasion works via two routes central & peripheral + central route: people pay attention to arguments, consider all the information, and use rational cognitive processes leads to strong attitudes that last over time and are resistant to change + peripheral route: people minimally process and message more compulsive action. Ie: when a person decides to purchase a product because a celebrity has endorsed it the cues that influence a message's persuasiveness include the source (the person who delivers the message), the content (what the message says), and the receiver (who processes the message) + sources who are both attractive and credible are most persuasive effective because of peripheral processing + credibility and persuasiveness may also be heightened when the receiver perceives the source as similar to himself/herself arguments in the message are also important for persuasion strong arguments that appeal to people's emotions are the most persuasive + mere exposure effect: repeating the message over and over in the hope that multiple exposures will lead to increased persuasiveness When people are motivated to consider information carefully, the process it via the central route, and their attitude changes reflect cognitive elaboration + when people are not motivated, the process information via the peripheral route, and their attitude changes reflect the presence/absence of shallow peripheral cues How do we form our impressions of others? Non-verbal actions and expressions affect our impressions: first impressions are important + people make a number of quick judgments + how people initially feel about a new person will be determined mostly by non-verbal behaviors + non-verbal behavior: the facial expressions, gestures, mannerisms, and movements by which one communicates with others. Sometimes referred as body language. Facial expressions & eye contact. Gait: one important non-verbal cue of how people walk + provides information about affective state + ie: people who bounce in their step = happy + ie: short steps while stooped over, scurrying = hostile thin slices of behavior: people can make accurate judgments based on only a few seconds of observations about non-verbal behaviorWe make attributions about others? attributions: people's casual explanations for why events or actions occur + people are motivated to draw inferences in part by a basic need for both order and predictability just world hypothesis: people believe that things happen for a reason; an attribution + ie: victims in part of a rape had done something to justify what happened to them personal attributions: explanations that refer to internal characteristics, such as abilities, traits, moods, and effort + also known as internal/dispositional attributions + explanations that refer to things within people situational attributions: explanations that refer to external events, such as the weather, luck, accidents, or the actions of other people + also known as external attributions fundamental attribution error: the tendency to overemphasize personal factors and underestimate situational factors in explaining behavior + when explaining other people's behavior, people tend to overemphasize the importance of personality traits and underestimate the importance of situation correspondence bias: emphasizing that people expect other's behaviors to correspond to their own beliefs and personalities actor/observer discrepancy: when people make attributions about themselves, they tend to focus on situations rather than on their personal dispositions, an error that, in conjugation with the fundamental attribution error + ie: people tend to attribute their own lateness to external factors (ie: traffic/competing demands), but they tend to attribute other people's lateness to personal characteristics such as laziness/lack of organization + self-serving bias
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