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Chapter 6

Social Psychology - Chapter6Notes

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Western University
Psychology 2070A/B

Chapter Six Attitudes and Social Behaviour Attitudes were the most indispensible concept in social psychology Gordon Allport What Are Attitudes? Attitude general perspective on life, an outlook that can be positive (leading to success) or negative (leading to failure) Attitudes: Evaluations of Targets Attitude an individuals evaluation of a target Good-bad judgement: individuals overall assessment of whether a particular target is positive or negative Cannot be seen directly Attitudes always have a target directed at something Three Parts of Attitudes Attitudes can come from sources: emotional reactions, cognitive information, and past behaviour Whether an individual evaluates a target positively or negatively will depend on three things: o How the object makes the person feel o The persons beliefs about the object o Persons previous actions towards the object Two-way behaviour o Attitudes cause behaviour o Past behaviours influence current attitudes o Current attitudes influence future behaviour Previous behaviour toward a target may contribute to an individuals current attitude towards a target Peoples feelings, beliefs, and past actions toward a target are reasonably consistent either negative or positive o Can have a mix of positive or negative feelings and beliefs Ambivalent attitudes evaluations of targets that include both positive and negative elements Loves the taste of chocolate cake but knows that it is high in calories and fat Respect Sarah but know she can be selfish o Can lead to different behaviours over time dominant element will drive behaviour Explicit Versus Implicit Attitudes Explicit attitudes those people can report consciously o Ex. aware that you dislike cockroaches and like puppies o High-level associations based on rational beliefs about the object and its features Implicit attitudes individuals automatic evaluative response to a target, which can occur without awareness o Spontaneous, immediate, good-bad response to the target at a subconscious level o Type of automatic process o Low-level associations between objects and evaluations Implicit conform to explicit o Ex. cockroaches elicit an implicit negative response that is consistent with our explicit negative attitude Perceptions of Others Attitudes Common structure to peoples perceptions of others attitudes Two dimensions: liberal vs. conservative and traditional versus novel o Fundamental in perceptions of others attitudes Why Do We Evaluate? Assessing Objects Object-appraisal function function of attitudes in which attitudes provide rapid evaluative judgments of targets, facilitating approach or avoidance o Quick assessment of targets o Most basic function of attitudes reason why humans form attitudes Expressing Values Values broad, abstract standards or goals that people consider to be important guiding principles in their life o Ex. freedom, equality, happiness o Ex. teenagers wearing specific clothing to show commitment to group (GOTHS) Value-expressive function a function of attitudes in which attitudes communicate individuals identity and values o Allow people to convey an identity that connects them to some group and makes them distinct from other groups o Ex. teenagers embrace in heavy metal to associate themselves with a peer group and dissociate themselves from their parents Testing the Functions of Attitudes Attitude towards coffee object-appraisal o Responded to information about rewards Attitude towards perfume value-appraisal o Responded to information about image Measuring Attitudes Validity measure actually assesses what it is supposed to assess Reliability participants scores on the measure are stable and free from extraneous variables Self-Report Measures of Attitude An attitude- individuals evaluation of a target: his or her judgment of an object, issue, or person on a good-bad dimension Directly report their evaluations Three common self-report techniques Likert-Type Scales (most used) Rensis Likert Likert-type scales an attitude measurement technique that requires respondents to indicate the extent of their agreement or disagreement with several statements on an issue o Each statement expresses a clear position (pro or con) on an issue or a clear attitude (favourable or unfavourable) toward a target Make sure all the items are valid reflections of the target attitude Advantages: o Easy for researchers to construct o Are clear and simple for respondents to complete o Produce reliable scores Semantic Differential Scales Semantic Differential Scale an attitude measurement technique that requires respondents to rate a target on several evaluative dimensions (such as good- bad and favourable-unfavourable) Advantages: o Easy to construct o Straightforward to complete Assess evaluations very directly participants rate the attitude object on dimensions that are explicitly evalu
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