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Chapter 4

Psychology Across Cultures Chapter 4 Notes -- did very well in this course

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PSY 210
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Social Psychology Chapter 4-Behavior andAttitudes • Attitude- a favorable or unfavorable evaluative reaction toward something or someone (often rooted in one’s beliefs, and exhibited in one’s feelings and intended behavior) HOW WELL DO OURATTITUDES PREDICT OUR BEHAVIOR? • Studies present an appealing task with a possible $30 reward and a dull task with no rewards. The participants had to assign themselves to one of the tasks and a supposed second participant to the other. Only 1 in 20 believed that assigning the positive task to themselves was the more moral thing to do, yet 80% did so anyways • The developing picture of what controls behavior emphasized external social influences, attitudes and personality. Thus, the original thesis that attitudes determine actions was countered during the 1960s by the antithesis that attitudes determine virtually nothing WhenAttitudes Predict Behavior: • The reason why our behavior and our expressed attitudes differ is that both are subject to other influences. One social psychologist counted 40 factors that complicate their relationship • Our attitudes do predict our behavior when these other influences on what we say and do are minimal, when the attitude is specific to the behavior, and when the attitude is potent When Social Influences on What We Say are Minimal:  Social psychologists can only measure expressed attitudes. Like other behaviors, expressions are subject to outside influences. Sometimes we say what we think others want to hear  With today’s technology we are able to better report attitudes. Some of these complement traditional self-report measures of explicit (conscious) attitudes with measures of implicit (unconscious) attitudes. One such test measures facial muscle responses to various statements  Anewer and widely used attitude measure, the implicit association test (IAT) uses reaction times to measure how quickly people associate concepts. These tests have shown repeatedly that: implicit biases are pervasive, people differ in implicit bias, and people are often unaware of their implicit bias  Explicit and implicit attitudes may together predict behavior better than either alone.  For attitudes formed early in life such as racial and gender attitudes, implicit and explicit attitudes frequently diverge, with implicit attitudes often being the better predictor of behavior  However the IAT is not reliable enough for use in assessing and comparing individuals When Other Influences on Behavior are Minimal:  Situational experiences often change our behavior and make behavior harder to predict  Principle of aggregation: the effects of an attitude become more apparent when we look at a person’s aggregate or average behavior than when we consider isolated acts WhenAttitudes Specific to the Behavior are Examined:  Attitudes toward the general concept of health fitness poorly predict specific exercises and dietary practices, but an individual’s attitudes about the costs and benefits of jogging are a fairly strong predictor of whether he or she jogs regularly  Better yet for predicted behavior is the theory of planned behavior which is knowing peoples intended behaviors and their perceived self-efficacy and control  To change habits through persuasion, we must alter people’s attitudes toward specific practices  So far we have seen two conditions under which attitudes will predict behavior: when we minimize other influences upon our attitude statements and on our behavior, and when the attitude is specifically relevant to the observed behavior WhenAttitudes Are Potent:  Much of our behavior is automatic. So if we were prompted to think about our attitudes before acting, would we be truer to ourselves?  The attitudes that best predict behavior
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