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Chapter 6

Chapter 6

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Psychology 2720A/B
Richard Sorrentino

Psych 2720A Chapter 6: Attitudes and Social Behaviour What Are Attitudes? Jeff Keller, president of Attitude is Everything Inc. says that success is a matter of having a positive attitude a general perspective on life, an outlook that can be positive or negative Attitudes: Evaluations of Targets attitude: an individuals evaluation of a target along a good-bad dimension target can be an object, an issue, a person, a group, a behaviour or any other identiable aspect of the environment as it is an evaluation, an attitude is a good-bad judgement represents the individuals overall assessment of whether a particular target is positive or negative attitudes cannot be seen directly, so researchers must infer attitudes from individuals observable responses attitudes target could be absolutely anything Three Parts of Attitudes attitudes can come from sources: emotional reactions, cognitive information, and past behaviour your previous knowledge is inuenced by experiences and what people say to us whether an individual evaluates a target positively or negatively will depend on 3 things: how the object makes the person feel (affect) the persons beliefs about the object (cognition) persons previous actions toward the object (past behaviour) two-way relation between attitudes and behaviour previous behaviour can contribute to individuals current attitude current attitudes also inuence future behaviour attitudes of certain targets depend mostly on peoples feelings whereas attitudes towards other targets depend mostly on peoples general knowledge and beliefs ie. attitudes towards blood donation focus on how each person feels about donating blood and attitudes towards controversial social issues such as racism are mostly dependent on general knowledge or beliefs most of the time, attitudes contain conicting elements (both positive and negative elements) that are called ambivalent attitudes the fact that our attitudes are ambivalent is the very nature of our behaviours unpredictability attitudes that are low in ambivalence (all positive or all negative elements) will not produce variable responses Explicit vs Implicit Attitudes explicit attitude: evaluations that people can repeat consciously implicit attitude: automatic evaluative responses to a target, which may occur without awareness spontaneous and immediate judgement automatic processes (cannot be controlled) implicit attitudes conform to explicit attitudes - inconsistency between the two is very common as well Perception of Others Attitudes two dimensions are important into the structure to peoples perception of others attitudes: liberal vs. conservative traditional vs. novel (radical) Why Do We Evaluate? recognition is not very informative unless the memory system also triggers some sort of evaluation of the object individual needs to determine whether the object in the past had been useful or not Assessing Objects object-appraisal function: a function of attitudes in which attitudes provide rapid evaluative judgements of targets, facilitating approach or avoidance quick assessment (appraisal) of whether targets are likely to be helpful or hurtful fundamental goal of object appraisal can be served by simple, affective responses that do not rely on complex recognition Expressing Values values: broad, abstract standards or goals that people consider to be important guiding principles in their life ie. freedom, equality, happiness peoples values are related to their attitudes towards specic issues value-expressive function: a function of attitudes in which attitudes communicate individuals identity and values allow people to convey an identity that connects them to some groups and makes them distinct from other groups Testing the Functions of Attitudes how can you tell if an attitude serves an object-appraisal function or a value- expressive function? (study by Shavitt) look at attitudes in coffee and perfume attitudes about coffee generally tend to be object-appraisal function - people tend to like or dislike the taste of coffee attitudes about perfumes generally tend to be value-expressive function - people ted to buy perfumes that celebrities wear that they identify with when advertising, object-appraisal function objects such as coffee should emphasize the rewards or the advantages that one receives from coffee when advertising for value-expressive attitude, most effective strategy should emphasize the desirable impression one can obtain advertisements are more effective when they were consistent with the function fullled by the attitude: object-appraisal attitudes responses to information about rewards and value-expressive attitudes responded to information about image and identity Measuring Attitudes dont forget concept of validity and reliability Self-Report Measures of Attitudes self-report measures and questionnaires and surveys are usually used 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 participants read a list of statements and they have to rank them whether they strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree, or strongly disagree with them (scale of 1-5) higher numbers reect the same direction of attitudes sum of the scores would represent their attitude score easy to construct and are clear/simple to complete Semantic Differential Scales: an attitude measurement technique that requires respondents to rate a target on several evaluative dimensions (such as good-bad and favourable-unfavourable) the object of target
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