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Chapter 12


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Psychology 3721F/G
Taylor Kohut

CHAPTER 12: ATTITUDE-BEHAVIOUR CONSISTENCY & RELATED ISSUES ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR  Attitudes usually measured through verbal report, likelihood attitudes and actions may not correspond  Usefulness of attitude depends on empirical evidence regarding its relationship to behaviour Famous Early study  Racial prejudice experiment of Chinese couple traveling though USA  Served @ 250 establishments, rejected at one (attitude measure)  When asked establishments if they would accept members of Chinese race as guests, majority said no  Major discrepancy; concluded attitudes must be studied through observation of actual social behaviour  major methodological problems produce pseudo inconsistency Pseudo inconsistency  situational thresholds= verbal attitude statements and overt behavioural measures studied have diff thresholds or levels of probability of occurrence  analysis if PI to earlier study= inconsistency was primarily a matter of differences in situational thresholds, for discrimination is much harder in the face to face situation than in written abstract letter situation  other methodological critiques: phone/sending questionnaires= no certainty that attitude measure was provided by same person whose behave was earlier observed Methodological improvements  several refinements have shown to yield higher attitude-behaviour relationships  2 are broad methods of measurement: (1)multi-item attitude scale instead of measurement by single item (2) behav criterion scale made up of several actions instead of just one  measure attitudes towards a particular action rather than using more traditional measure of attitudes toward a person/whole category of persons  ensure compatibility in level of measurement  many early studies correlated general attitudes with specific behav  specific attitudes compatible with behaviours being studied more strongly associated with them  lack of compatibility =problem in LaPieres study  principle of compatibility also applies to general measures; measure of general attitudes on given topic will usually correlate quite strongly with an aggregate measure of actions within a relevant class to goal directed behaviours Explaining variations in attitude-behaviour consistency  research on attitude-behaviour consistency characterized by passing through: st o 1 stage: = IS there a relation between the two? o 2 stage: = WHEN are certain attitudes related to certain behaviours (conditions; situational/personality/attitudinal factors) o 3 stage: HOW do attitudes guide behaviours (processes)  main moderator variables that influence relationship: moderator is a variable that inc/dec strength of relationship between 2 other variables (1)The Attitude  variables of certainty, stability, consistency, direct experience have all been found to influence when an attitude will predict a behaviour  attitude certainty: internal consistency of attitude; ie extent to which cognitive and affective components of attitude are in agreement o an uncertain attitude is ambivalent, not a good predictor of behav  attitude stability: instability of attitudes and intentions over time can reduce the strength of attitude-behaviour relationship o longer time period between attitude measurement and behavioural observation, greater chances of inconsistency  direct personal experience: attitudes that are the result of direct encounter with object tend to be better predictors of behaviour than do attitudes acquired through indirect experience  attitude accessibility: attitude more likely to be activated by presence of attitude object; better predictors of behaviour (2)The Person (characteristics of individual)  self-monitoring= extent to which individual modifies behaviour to match situation o ppl high in SM override attitudes to behave properly with others expectations o ppl low in SM less influenced by surroundings; greater degree of attitude-behaviour correspondence  inadequate skills; either intellectual, verbal, social o lacking info to recognize that behaviour doesn’t match attitude, inconsistency is not surprising (3)The Behaviour  not all behaviors are equally predicted by attitudes; some behaviours aren’t completely under voluntary control  habitual behaviours we perform without thinking aren’t under our voluntary, intentional control  unavailability of alternative behaviours= found to decrease strength of attitude behaviour relationships  normative prescriptions of proper behaviour decrease the strength (polite to ppl we don’t like)  severity of expected consequences of behaviour can dec its relationship to ones attitude  one possibility for integrating research on behaviour moderators is effort hypothesis= proposed that easy behaviours are less likely to be determined by ones attitude o attitudes are less likely to correlate with behaviours that are very difficult or very easy (4)The Situation  unforeseen extraneous events= eg; even a family with strongly favourable attitude toward church attendance might miss Sunday service if they had seriously ill child **Attitudes are by no means the only factors necessary to predict behavioural responses; certain amount of inconsistency between attitudes and behaviour is to be expected; amount depending on particular attitude, person, behaviour, situation Models for understanding the attitude-behavioural linkage  theory of reasoned action= persons intention to act is the best determinant of his her actual behaviour o presents mathematical formula in which intentions determined by both attitudinal and normative factors (a) the persons beliefs about the consequences of performing a particular behaviour (b) his/her evaluation of those consequences (c) his/her normative beliefs regarding the expectation of relevant others (d) motivation to comply with those expectations  theory of planned behaviour: theory incorporates perceived behavioural control as 3 antecedent of behavioural intention  perceived behavioural control: persons believe about his ability to perform behaviour  The mode model of attitude-behaviour processes: motivation and opportunities as determinants (MODE)  Basic premise is that attitudes are conditioned associations between an object and an evaluation; postulates 2 pathways through which attitudes can lead to behaviour; spontaneous and deliberate o Spontaneous: begins with an environmental trigger; then if beheavioural opportunity presents itself, the person acts or fails to act  A person with a weak and favourable attitude is less likely to act in ways consistent with the attitude than is a person with a
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