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Chapter 4

PS270 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Gender Role, Implicit-Association Test, Totalitarianism


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PS270
Professor
Camie Condon
Chapter
4

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Chapter 4: Behaviour and Attitudes
exploring links between attitude and action
our private beliefs and feelings determne our public behaviour, so if we wish to change
we must first change our hearts and minds
in the beginning, social psych argued that you could predict beahviour from attitude
ex. a serial killer displays extreme attitudes early on
now: changing attitudes hardly affects behaviour
Robert Albeson: “we are very well trained and very good at finding reasons for what we
do, but not very good at doing what we find reasons for
when social psychs talk about attitude they refer to beliefs and feelings to a person
and the resulting behaviour tendency
attitude: favourable or unfavourable evaluative reaction toward something or someone
exhibited in one's beliefs, feelings, or intendeded behaviour
attiudes are efficient ways to size up the world
researchers want to know how attitude affects our actions
The ABC's of attitude: affect (feelings), behaviour tendency, and cognition (thoughts)
How Well do our Attitudes Predict our Behaviour?
To what extent, and under what conditions, do attitudes drive our outward actions?
Why were social psychologists at first surprised by a seemingly small connection
between attitudes and actions?
Are we All Hypocrites?
Allen Wicker: people's expressed attitudes hardly predicted their varying behaviours
ex. student attitudes toward cheating bore little relation to the liklihood of their
actual cheating
“moral hypocrisy”: (appearing moral without being so)
if people don't walk to same line that they talk, it's a little wonder that attempts to
change behaviour by changing our attitudes often fail
ATTITUDES DETERMINE VIRTUALLY NOTHING
When Attitudes Predict Behaviour
why our behaviour expressed attitudes differ is that both are subject to other influences
our attitudes do predict our behaviour, however, when these other influences on what
we say and do are minimal, when the attitude is specific to the behaviour and when the
attitude is potent (strong and in our mind)
When social influences on what we say are minimal
expressions are subject to outside influences
we sometimes say what we think others want to hear
social psychs have come up with traditional self-report measures of explicit (conscious)
and implicit (unconscious) attitudes
a newer and popular study is the Implicit Association Test: a computer-driven
assessment of implicit attitudes. Uses reaction times to measure people's automatic
associations between attitude objects and evaluative words. Easier pairings and faster
responses are taken to indicate stronger unconscious associations

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explicit (self-report) and implicit attitudes both help predict people's behaviours and
judgments
thus, explicit and implicit attitudes may together predict behaviour better than alone
implicit attitudes are the better predictor of behaviours from attitudes formed in early
life such as racial and gender attitudes
for other attitudes, such as consumer behaviour and support for political candidates,
explicit self-reports are the better predictor
slight issue: the IAT is not reliable enough for use assessing and comparing individuals
also doesn't compare positive bias of one group and negative bias of another
it does confirm one thing: our “dual processing” capacity for both controlled (deliberate,
conscious, explicit) and automatic (effortless, habitual, implicit) thinking.
When Other Influences on Behaviour are Minimal
it's not only our inner attitudes that guide us but also the situation we face
social influences can be enormous enough to induce people to violate their deepest
convictions
ex. Peter denied knowing Jesus before his crucifixion
predicting behaviour is difficult but testing it over an extended amount of time can help
these finding define a principle of aggregation: the effects of an attitude on behaviour
become more apparent when we look at a person's aggregate or avergae behaviour
rather than at isolated acts
When Attitude Specific to Behaviour are Examined
Ajzen and Fishbein: when the measured attitude is general and the behaviour is
specific we should not expect a close correspondence between words and actions
found attitudes did predict behaviour in which the measured attitude was directly
pertinent to the situation
“theory of planned behaviour”: knowing people's intended behaviours and their
perceived self-efficacy and control
even simply asking people about their intentions to engage in a behaviour
increases its likelihood
ex. attitudes towards recycling (but not environmental issues altogether) could
predict whether or not one would recycle
to change habits through persuasion we has best alter people's attitudes toward
specific practices
so far we have explored 2 conditions under which attitudes will predict behaviour:
1.) when we minimize other influences on our attitude statements and our
behaviour
2.) when the attitude is specifically relevant to the observed behaviour
there is a third:
3.) an attitude predicts behaviour better when it is potent
When Attitudes are Potent
much of our behaviour is automatic
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Bringing Attitudes to Mind
our attitudes become potent if we thing about them
self-conscious people usually are in touch with their attitudes
this is one way to induce people to focus on their inner convictions
mirrors bring behaviour into line with espoused moral attitudes
Forgoing Strong Attitudes Through Experience
when attitudes are forged by experience they are more accessible, more enduring and
more likely to guide actions
When Does Our Behaviour Affect Our Attitudes?
If social psych has taught us anything in the past 25 years, it is that we are likely not
only to think ourselves into a way of acting but also to act ourselves into a way of
thinking
new idea of behaviour determining attitudes
the mental after-affect of our behaviour appear in a rich variety of social situations: our
attitudes follow our behaviour
Role-Playing
role: a set of norms that define how people in a given social position ought to behave
norms: rules or accepted and expected behaviour. Prescribe “proper” behaviours
when stepping into a new social role, we must perform its actions, even if we feel
phony
ex. starting a new job
Zimbardo and Stanford Prison study: he wondered if prison brutality is a product of
evil prisoners and malicious guards or whether institutional roles of guard and prisoner
would embitter and harden even compassionate people
people in his study had a “growing confusion between reality and illusion, between
role-playing and self-identity”
the common result of the role seems to be that it preventd intervening even to help
those who are clearly in need
the deeper lesson in role-playing studies concerns how is unreal (an artificial role) can
evolve into what is real
we act a role that shapes our attitudes
our actions depend not only on the social situation but also on our dispositions
ex. guy who robbed banks swore he was done but then returned to doing drugs and
began robbing again, he had a predisposition
some social situations can move most “normal” people to behave in “abnormal” ways
Gender Roles
one prominent role given to us by our society is our gender
we are socialized into gender roles very early on
gender roles: a set of behaviour expectations (norms) for males and females
men, similarily to women, adapt their self-presentation to meet desirable women's
gender role expectations
gender roles shape our actions
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