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Chapter 6

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University of Winnipeg
Kelley Robinson

Attitudes and Attitude Change Influencing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviour 27/11/2013 10:14:00 AM Attitude: an evaluation of a person, object or idea  Affective -> emotional reactions (pleasure, excitement, resentment towards a car); not rational, no logic, linked to values o Can sometimes overpower cognitive based, i.e., falling in love with someone even though we know they have a history of infidelity o Come from people’s values, such as religious or moral beliefs, such as attitudes on abortion, death penalty, premarital sex  Study: messages on posters soliciting donations for cancer research -> those that said “help others live” showed a positive correlation between altruistic values + donation; those that said “protect your future” showed no correlation  Cognitive -> beliefs about attributes or properties (admiration of a car being fuel efficient); classifies the + and – (quick way to judge whether we associate or not)  Behavioural -> actions or observable behaviour (do you go to test- drive the car and buy one?) o Self-perception theory -> do you like working out? You go to the gym all the time so you guess you do Comparing bases of attitudes: negative attitudes toward a group are likely to be cognitive, positive attitudes toward a group are likely to be affective -> attitudes on social issues such as capital punishment are likely to be affective  Explicit -> ones we consciously endorse and can easily report o i.e., abhorring racial bias and believing that all races are equal (behaviour consistent, signing a petition)  Implicit -> ones that are involuntary and unconscious o i.e., growing up where negative stereotypes are common, and unconsciously feeling nervous around another race Predicting behaviour: attitudes are poor predictors of behaviour; i.e., 1934 sightseeing trip with Asian couple, only 1 hotel refused service, but when asked 90% of the hotels said they would refuse service to Asian couples (very general) -> if asked if they would service a well dressed, well educated Asian couple traveling with a white professor, (specific), would they have responded differently?  Theory of planned behaviour: behavioural intentions that predict behaviour, determined by 3 things o attitude toward the behaviour (specific, not general)  study: married women asked about their general attitudes on birth control, then on specific attitudes on the pill (whether they will use in the next 2 years); 2 years later they interviewed the women again, and found that their general attitudes did not predict the use of the pill (not factoring in other methods, circumstances, etc) o subjective norms (beliefs about how other people they care about will view the behaviour in question)  i.e., you hate heavy metal music, so it would seem like you wouldn’t go to a concert -> if your best friend were going and really wants you to go, you might o perceived behavioural control (the ease with which you think you can perform the behaviour)  i.e., you think it’s easy to pick up milk on the way home from work so you intend to do it, but you think it is hard to stick to an exercise regime so you do not intend to  i.e., competitive swimmers and the likelihood of them going through the training regime -> easier to predict their behaviour if they have a positive attitude towards the training, if their friends/fam want them to, and if they think it’s easy to stick to the training regime  why might people have positive attitudes towards condom use, and yet fail to use condoms? -> theory of planned behaviour o subjective norms: study showed 65% of Nova Scotia high schoolers believed their sexually active friends used condoms -> this promotes condom use; social norms can vary, i.e., it is more acceptable to some social groups to have casual sex while on spring break, but not at home -> our beliefs about our partner’s feelings on condom use will also affect our behaviour (women in particular anticipate a negative reaction from their partner if they provide condoms) o perceived behavioural control: is it easy to use condoms? Maybe not, going to the store to purchase them could be difficult or speaking about it with a partner could be awkward, so you might not use them o factors affecting condom use intention:  mood: bad moods make you less likely to use condom  self-esteem: if it is low, you feel more vulnerable to rejection  alcohol intoxication: inhibits information processing, so immediate gratification (pleasure) is more important than long term consequences attitude change (persuasive communication):  yale attitude change approach: o the source of the communication (how expert or attractive the speaker is)  speakers who are credible, trustworthy, attractive, or likeable are more persuasive than those who are not o the communication itself (the quality of the arguments, whether the speaker explored both sides)  both sides better, as long as opposite is refuted  opposing speeches? best to go first if there is a break where people have to make up their mind, due to primacy affect -> best to go last if people have to make up their mind after both speeches due to recency affect o the nature of the audience (which appeals work with hostile versus friendly audiences)  distracted audience is more persuadable  lower intelligence audience is more persuadable  moderate self-esteem is more persuadable  age 18-25 is most persuadable o study: the effect of speaker credibility -> participants listened to speech about rigorous exercise being harmful on tape (A told that it was world-renowned authority on exercise, B told that it was speaker from Fat is Beautiful campaign) -> group A found the speech more credible and persuasive  heuristic-systematic model of persuasion -> two ways in which persuasive communication can cause attitude change, either through: o systematic processing (the merits of the argument, elaborating on what you hear) o heuristic processing (not processing the facts, but basing attitude on whether the speaker is expert or attractive)  elaboration likelihood model -> two ways in which persuasive communication can cause attitude change, either through: o central route to persuasion (motivated to pay attention to the speaker and the arguments)  route taken if the person is interested, or if they are not distracted -> more likely if argument is presented in clear language  people who use central route are more likely to have a long-term attitude change and behave consistenly o peripheral route to persuasion (not motivated to pay attention to the arguments, instead swayed by attractiveness or who gave the speech or how long it was)  route taken if the person is bored, distracted, or uninterested -> more likely if argument is presented in jargon or is hard to understand o study: participants either role-played or watched a lecture/read a paper about AIDS prevention + awareness; those who did the role play took the central route to persuasion and had positive attitudes + knowledge 4 weeks later  fear-arousing communication o works when a moderate amount of fear is created, and if people believe that listening to the message will teach them how to reduce the fear, they will be motivated to analyze their behaviour using the central route o study: participants watched graphic film and were given quit smoking pamphlet were more likely to reduce smoking than those who just watched the movie or the pamphlet; why? Raised fear and gave info/recommendations  humour may also be more persuasive in the fear campaign  how to tailor advertisements to change attitude: cognitive attitudes can be changed through rational arguments, and effective attitudes can be changed through emotional arguments; i.e., coffee maker, stress utilitarian points -> perfume, stress values + social identity o cultural differences? American = independent ads (the shoes for you), Asian = collectivist (the shoes for your family)  subliminal advertising -> not true (unless priming in lab setting) o study: participants either listened to self-esteem or memory subliminal tapes; had no effect, but participants thought it had effect (even when the researchers lied about which tape they got) o study: participants subliminally primed with “dry” or “thirsty” (or neutral control) -> experimental group persuaded by superquencher drinks ad  attitude inoculation -> basically a vaccine (small amounts of weak arguments before the persuasive argument to cause immunity) o study: weak arguments against brushing teeth every day, then 2 days later a strong logical argument -> those who were inoculated with the weak arguments had a chance to think it over and realize that the arguments were unfounded, and were less persuaded than those who did not receive inoculation o study: role-playing peer pressure for smoking with 7 thgraders -> those in role-play were less likely to smoke 3 years later  product-placement -> effective because we don’t think about the fact that someone is trying to influence us o warning people about product-placement makes them less susceptible to persuasion  cognitive dissonance occurs when there is discrepancy between our behaviours and attitudes, normally when we do something that makes us feel stupid or immoral o study: students don’t want to take 6:30 am classes, but are asked to write an essay in favour of early classes -> they show dissonance reduction, and change attitudes in favour of early classes  some participants in study were given a drug to improve memory (some told it would have no side effects, and some told it would make them tense) -> those who were told about a side effect attributed tenseness to the drug and did not experience dissonance reduction, keeping their negative views of early classes o 3 ways to reduce cognitive dissonance:
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