Textbook Notes (363,381)
Canada (158,358)
Psychology (4,731)
Chapter 7

Chapter 7.pdf

8 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Psychology 2720A/B
Clive Seligman

CHAPTER 7: ATTITUDE CHANGE Rationalizing Our Own Behaviour: Cognitive Dissonance Theory • Feeling Bad About Irrational Behaviour: The Arousal of Dissonance • Cognitive Dissonance Theory: a model proposed by Leon Festinger, which states awareness of consonant cognitions makes us feel good, whereas awareness of dissonant cognitions makes us feel bad. Further, the unpleasant feelings produced by dissonant cognitions motivate us to do something to change our state • Consonant Cognitions: beliefs that are consistent or compatible with one another • Dissonant Cognitions: beliefs that are inconsistent or logically discrepant with one another • Festinger hypothesized that awareness of consonant cognitions makes us feel good, whereas awareness of dissonant cognitions makes us feel bad • Proposed that the unpleasant feelings produced by dissonant cognitions motivate people to do something to change their state • Focused on dissonance between knowing that you behave pr have behaved in a certain way and another piece of knowledge implying that your behaviour was wrong or illogical or otherwise inappropriate • The importance of the cognitions influences the amount of dissonance • Dissonance between very important cognitions causes more intense negative feelings than does dissonance between less important cognitions • Making Irrational Behaviour Rational: The Reduction of Dissonance • Dissonance reduction must involve rationalization: convincing ourselves that our current or past behaviour made sense after all • Directly reducing dissonance may not always be possible • Changing one’s behaviour can be challenging, and many cognitions are based on strong evidence that we cannot easily distort or deny • Another way that people can reduce dissonance is by adding consonant cognitions • Dissonance can be reduced by reducing the importance of one of the dissonant cognitions and/or increasing importance of one of the consonant cognitions • Early Research on Dissonance Theory • Three major domains of the theory: • Induced Compliance: Dissonance from Couterattitudinal Behaviour • Counterattitudinal behavious - behaviour that is counter to, or inconsistent with, an individual’s attitudes, values, or beliefs • Induced Compliance Paradigm: a research methodology used to test disonance theory that arouses dissonance by getting people to engage in counterattitudinal behaviour. In this paradigm, participants are induced to comply with an experimenter’s request that they behave in a way that is inconsistent with their attitudes • Effort Justification: Dissonance from Waster Effort • Dissonance theory predicts that people who suspect they have wasted effort will be motivated to change one of the dissonant cognitions or to add consonant cognitions • Effort Justification Paradigm: a research methodology used to test dissonance by getting people to invest time or energy to achieve a goal that may not be worthwhile • Free Choice: Dissonance from Making a Decision CHAPTER 7: ATTITUDE CHANGE • Decisions always involve a chosen option and at least one rejected option • Hypothesized that after making a decision, people almost always experience some dissonance; this kind of dissonance has been labelled postdecisional dissonance • Because the chosen option will usually have some negative features, and the rejected option will usually have some positive features • Free Choice Paradigm: a research methodology used to test dissonance theory that arouses dissonance by getting people to choose between two or more alternatives • People will reduce this dissonance by focusing on the positive features of the chosen alternative and the negative features of the rejected alternative • This tendency to rate the chosen item more favourably and the rejected item less favourably after the decision has been learned spreading of the alternatives • Alternative Interpretations of Dissonance Findings • Self-Perception Theory • An important difference between dissonance and self-perception theories: the role of unpleasant arousal • Dissonance theorists hypothesized that aversive arousal motivated the attitude change, whereas self-perception theorists hypothesized that there was no arousal at all • Aversive arousal is necessary for attitude change to occur • Impression Management Theory • Impression Management Theory: an alternative to dissonance theory that argues that participants in dissonance experiments want to appear consistent to the experimenter and therefore lie about their attitude • Self-Affirmation Theory • Self-Affirmation Theory: an alternative to dissonance theory that argues that people are threatened by behaviour that challenges their self-worth and can deal with this threat by reaffirming an important value • Self-Affirmation theorists predicted that people can deal with threats to their self-worth in ways other than changing their attitudes • Summary • Each perspective can account for some dissonance findings and has implications for some nondissonance settings as well • Recent Research on Dissonance Theory • The Hypocrisy Paradigm • Hypocrisy Paradigm: a research methodology used to test dissonance theory that arouses dissonance by having people publicly promote a socially desirable behaviour and then be made aware that they have not always exhibited the beahviour themselves in the past • This is an interesting form of dissonance because the public behaviour that provokes it is completely proattitudinal - the individual recommends a behaviour that he or she already supports • Predicted that dissonance aroused by hypocrisy would motivate individuals to change their behaviour to be more consistent with what they publicly promoted CHAPTER 7: ATTITUDE CHANGE • Individual Differences in Preferences for Consistency • Preference for Consistency (PFC): a disposition that represents the extent to which people desire predictability and consistency within their own responses and within others’ responses • People who score high in PFC are presumed to want their actions and attitudes to be consistent with one another, whereas people who score low in PFC are presumed to be less concerned about such consistency • People who score high in PFC are more bothered than people who score low on PFC by ambivalent attitudes • Dissonance and Explicit Vs Implicit Attitudes • Dissonance might not affect implicit attitudes because dissonance arousal and reduction rely on conscious mental inferences Information-Based Persuasion: Cognitive Response Theory • Examples of persuasive communications? Advertising, education, family and friends • Examples of your attempts to influence other people’s opinions • Persuasive communications rely on information to convince the recipient to adopt the advocated position • Information-based messages consist of arguments about an issue and/or evidence supporting a position; they try to use reason or logic to make their case • Cognitive Response Theory: a model of persuasion that assumes that the impact of a message on attitudes depends on the thoughts evoked by the message • Strong Arguments, Strong Attitudes • When a message contains strong arguments. it usually elicits positive thoughts about the communicator, the issue, and the message • Strong arguments tend to produce corresponding strong attitudes that are consistent with the recommended position • Repeated exposure improved recall of the arguments, whether strong or weak • Are You Listening? • In the low-distraction condition, participants who heard a strong message were more favourable than were participants who heard a weak message • The high-distraction condition, the impact of argument strength was greatly reduced: the strong message was only slightly more persuasive than the weak message • For weak arguments: the weak message was actually somewhat more persuasive in the high-distraction condition than in the low-distraction condition • Hard Sell: an advertising strategy that relies on presenting information about the positive features of a product If You Say So: Heuristic Persuasion • Heuristic Persuasion: attitude change resulting from cues that indicate that the position advocated in a message is valid • With respect to attitude change, this perspective recognizes that people do not always exert a lot of effort to judge the validity of a persuasive message, but may instead base their agreement or disagreement on rather superficial cues CHAPTER 7: ATTITUDE CHANGE • Automatically suspicious of arguments that are delivered by someone who stands to gain or lose from an issue • Says Who? •Source characteristics can serve as heuristic cues that lead people to agree with a message •People may agree with a message based simply on the credibility of the source rather than on the strength of the arguments •Credibility is not the only characteristic of the source that influence agreement •We are also more likely to agree with likeable people, with attractive people, and with famous people, compared to unlikeable, unattractive, and unknown people •Soft Sell: an advertising strategy that relies on the use of images, emotions, symbols, or values to promote a product Two Models of Persuasive Messages • Attitudes researchers have proposed two theories that encompass both ways that messages can elicit agreement: the systematic-heuristic model and the elaboration likelihood model • Systematic-Heuristic Model: a theory of attitude change that distinguishes between two types of processing that can occur in response to a persuasive
More Less

Related notes for Psychology 2720A/B

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.