Lecture 1. PSY320H1FSeptember11th2012.docx

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

PSY320H1F: September 11 , 2012 Chapter 1 (p. 1 – 14) What is an Attitude? - An overall evaluation of an object that is based on cognitive, affective, and behavioral information  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 person’s 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 explanation  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 feeling  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 PSY320H1F: September 11 , 2012 energy-saving devices that will make judgments easier and faster to perform  Express out values, identify with people we like, and protect ourselves from negative feedback Social Cognition: A Changing of the Guard - Grounded upon how individuals elaborate upon and process information  consider new perspectives regarding introspective and deliberate information processing  Ajzen & Fishbein: Theory of Reasoned Action  Developed to predict deliberative and thoughtful behaviour from attitudes  Reconsider assumptions made by Hovland et al. (the Yale group)  McGuire and Wyer: message recipients were active receptors of persuasive information, linking new persuasive information with their prior attitudes and integrating different forms of information - 1970s: the study of the relation between attitudes and behaviour regained prominence  Wicker (1969): attitudes were a relatively poor predictor of behaviour  Led a number of psychologists to question the value of attitude concept: if attitudes did not predict actions, then the construct is of limited use  Response to criticism: many studied when and how attitudes can predict behaviour – attitudes do predict behaviour, in some conditions better than others A New Wave of Attitude Research (1980s) - Research on the content of attitudes began to flourish - Introduction of two important models of persuasion (both a
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