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Chapter 10


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Western University
Psychology 3721F/G
Taylor Kohut

CHAPTER 10: ATTITUDE-CHANGE THEORIES & RESEARCH METHODOLOGY; LEARNING AND JUDGMENT APPROACHES Kurt Lewin  Group dynamics: “t groups” to improve social adjustment and group effectiveness  “action research”: lessen prejudice, wartime attitude problems, introduced group-participation methods into industrial management Types of Attitude-Change Research (1)group setting -multiple variables manipulated/measured at once -complex stat designs to analyze data-show complicated variable interactions -limited control; weak iv manipulations- high error variance (2)individual experiments -manipulate 1-2 iv; less focus on measurement techniques -complicated/precise manipulation= large effect -simple stat design is sufficient/finds signif in small #’s of participants Most studied variables involved in persuasion (Petty & Wegener, 1998) (1)Source Variables  credibility (expertise and trustworthiness)  attractiveness and likability  power  other (speed of speech, demographic variables, majority or minority status, similiarity to recipient) (2) Message Variables  message topic, position, style (issue relevance or importance, position, discrepancy, conclusion drawing, use of rhetorical questions)  message content (argument quality/quantity, positive vs negative framing, fear appeals, emotion vs reason, one-sided vs two-sided arguments)  message organization (3) Recipient variables  attitudinal (accessibility, issue-relevant knowledge)  demographic (age, gender)  personality and skills (intelligence, self-esteem, self-monitoring, need for cognition) (4) Context variables  distraction  audience reactions  forewarning (of positions, or of persuasive intent)  anticipated discussion or interaction  channel of communication or message modality  mood  repetition of message IV (Source, Message, Recipient, Context) Mediation Processes (Affective, cognitive, behavioural) Outcome (attitude change) METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES -Research Design (1) Correlational Studies  no manipulation; study aspects already present  measure 2+ variables & assess the relationship  polling, attitude change from mass media exposure (2) Experimental Studies  preferred method  high level of control: random assignment, control over manipulation  university labs with students (3) Quasi-Experiments  difficulty to manipulate iv, can control dv  inability of random assignment  simple experiments- many threats to internal validity  ex) no random assignment, evidence that groups aren’t systematically different before stimulus constitutes key variable  difficulty to have an internally valid design when studies move from lab to natural settings  pretest design sensitize participants to issue and promote attitude change or commit them to initial viewpoints and deter attitude change  **better to use posttest-only designs: random assignment to trt & control; no pretests before manipulation -Measurement Methods (1)self-report: may not report accurately (2)indirect/disguised verbal techniques (3)physiological indicators/implicit measures: implicit association test or affective priming techniques (4)unobtrusive, nonreactive observation= field studies (subjects unaware of being studied) (5)physiological/biochemical measures: electronic instruments to reduce tendencies to give socially desirable responses -Demand Characteristics  perceptual cues (explicit/implicit) that indicate what is expected of ppl in a situation  alter results more so in lab experiments; try to support hypothesis & be “good subjects”  effects can be minimized through o replicatin of studies & experimenters with differing theoretical viewpoints o use nonarticifial settings & detailed postexperimental inquiries about participants’ suspicions o careful development of procedures & “cover stories” to conceal hypothesis o avoid designs using pretests which may alert participants to hypothesis -Subject Effects  negativistic subject- uncooperative  faithful subject- always follows instructions and avoids acting on their suspicions  apprehensive subject- worried about how behaviour is evaluated  Evaluation apprehension: attempts by individuals to act socially desirable bc of concern about evaluated by others  Using volunteers: more educated, intelligent, sociable, higher need fo approval  Precautions o Disguising hypothesis o Natural settings (unaware behavior is being studied) o Avoiding anxiety-arousing instructions o Maintaining subject anonymity o Avoid using volunteers  Most studies use college students: younger, more educated, more affluent, less crystallized attitudes, self-concepts & peer relationships; issues which arise include o Overemphasize compliance o Inconsistency o Easy attitude change and cognitive responses o Underemphasizing emotions, personality characteristics, group norms -Experimenter Effects  Distortions of results by biases of experimenters  Lead to errors of observation recording data, computing results  Expectancies: unintentionally transmitted to participants by subtle cues of voice tone, gestures, facial expressions  Reduce this by: o Less participant-researcher contact o Use different experimenters and testing o Keep experimenters blind to hypothesis or conditions assigned o Use extra control groups which differ in expectancies given to members about hypothesis -Deception & Suspicion  Situational differences and carefulness of researcher are necessary to see if deception poses a threat to conclusions (suspicion may lead to confounding variables which lead to bias OR deception does not bias responses)  Ethics via APA: o psychologists don’t use deception unless the technique is justified by the study’s significant prospective scientific, educational or applied value and non-deceptive alternatives aren’t feasible o don’t deceive participants if expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional distress o tell participant of deception as early as possible; preferably at conclusion of participation and permit participants to withdraw data WHY HAVE THEORIES? (1)guide research; suggest factors important to study and others we might not think of (2)help to understand research findings by putting them into context; explain meaning of facts discovered-how and why they fit together (3)let us predict what can happen under various future conditions; correct prediction provides test of adequacy of any theory (4)theories are never proven  Law: theoretical relationship between 2 variables has been confirmed enough times that all authorities agree on its correctness  Ex) law of effect: any behaviour rewarded is more likely to occur in the future  Over justification effect: rewards lead to a reduction in behaviour (5)diff levels of theories ranging in applicability in attitude change  principles (limited subarea) midrange theories broad, general orientations -dual-process models: classification of attitude changes into those that involve high-effort processes and those that do not  high effort processes: cognitive responses, info integration, cognitive dissonance; such processes require mental resources, thought, evaluation  attitude-change processes- don’t require effort LEARNING APPROACHES TO ATTITUDE CHANGE -Learning approaches are responsible for attitude change; no ginel unified learning theory of attitude change (1) emphasize reinforcement and association through contiguity in explaining attitude change (2) emphasize stimulus-response(S-R): focuses on persuasive stimulus; source and content (3) focus on attention and comprehension; less focus on acceptance or yielding stage (4) translation of animal learning and human attitudes leads to apprehension or making proper conclusions (5) many theories, many ways to apply them in new situations -Conditioning theories of attitude change (1) reward for advocating a position: Scott (1959)  counterattitudinal advocacy in debate; winning produced attitude change toward position advocated (even if opp from own attitude), losing produced no change in attitude (2) verbal reinforcement of opinions: Insko (1965)  telephone verbal reinforcement had signif effect on modifying attitudes and opinions (3) attitude accessibility Fazio (1986)  an attitude is an association in memory between an object and evaluation  strength of attitude is increased by direct experience with object and # times attitude is expressed  reaction time: quick evaluative reaction indicates a strong attitude Bem’s Behavioural Theory  a person’s cues for self-perception are the same publicly observable responses by which they perceive and evaluate feelings/attitudes of other ppl  attitude change follows from behaviour change Hovland’s Communication Research Program  process of attitude change will occur only if there is a practice (mental rehearsal or thought about new attitude) and an incentive (reward for accepting it)  attention to persuasive stimulus is necessary before compre
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