Chapter 5: Attitudes and Persuasion
Attitude – a positive or negative evaluation of an object.
Tripartite View of Attitudes:
1) Cognitive – beliefs about an object.
2) Affective – feelings towards the object.
3) Behavioral – behavior towards the object.
Do attitudes predict behavior? No.
What did the LaPiere Study say about this? Criticisms?
LaPiere’s study found that 249 out of 250 times, they were served despite 90% of
restaurateurs who took the survey responded that they would not serve a Chinese
Criticisms: Only 128 out of the 250 places responded to the survey. It wasn’t clear
who responded to the survey and whether or not they were acting out on the norm
What did Wicker’s study find?
Attitudes are not good predictors of behavior.
Implicit Attitudes – an attitude that is activated automatically from memory, often
without the person’s awareness that she or he possesses it.
Explicit Attitudes – a consciously held attitude that is a more thoughtful and deliberate
evaluation than implicit attitudes.
Dual Attitudes – the simultaneous possession of contradictory implicit and explicit
attitudes toward the same object.
What groups shape and maintain our social and political attitudes, as well as our life
choices? Reference groups
Mere Exposure Effect – the tendency to develop more positive feelings towards objects
and individuals the more we are exposed to them.
Facial Feature Hypothesis – changes in facial expression can lead to corresponding
changes in emotion.
Theory of Planned Behavior – the theory that people’s conscious decisions to engage in
specific actions are determined by their attitudes towards the behavior in question, the
relevant subjective norms, and their perceived behavioral control. Cognitive dissonance theory – people are motivated to maintain consistency among their
beliefs and attitudes.
Festinger’s Theory – an individual may (1) hold attitudes and beliefs that are inconsistent
with each other, and may (2) perform behaviors that are inconsistent with attitudes and
beliefs. Cognitive dissonance is experienced when cognitive inconsistencies are
Cognitive Dissonance – a feeling of discomfort caused by performing an action
that is inconsistent with one’s attitude.
When Prophecy Fails:
What happened when the world didn’t end when the believers found out?
Initially, they were stunned. After about four hours, the leader of the group
“received a message” stating that the “God of Earth” decided to spare the planet,
and the end of the world was cancelled.
What are the effects of disconfirming an important belief? Engaging in self-
justification in order to avoid cognitive dissonance.
Classical Cognitive Dissonance Experiment ($1 for lying versus $20 for lying about the
boring peg turning experiment.)
What were the findings? Those who were paid $1 liked the experiment more.
Because there was less of a reward to justify their lying (insufficient justification),
they experienced cognitive dissonance when lying and thus changed their
attitudes to believe that they actually liked the experiment.
Different approaches on Cognitive Dissonance:
1) Insufficient Justification – people are induced with as little pressure/justification
as possible to perform an attitude-inconsistent behavior. The action cannot be
undone. If a plausible reason for the behavior can’t be invented and behavior can’t
be changed, then attitudes will change so that they are consistent with the
2) Free Choice – when you freely choose to engage in a counter-attitudinal behavior,
3) Effort Justification – if you work hard at something, you will like it more than if
you didn’t work hard for it.
Ex. Sex Discussion Group: Women who went through a more severe initiation
and had to say more graphic words underwent cognitive dissonance and rated a
rather boring, sexual conversation as being more interesting than not. What theories challenged Cognitive Dissonance Theory?
Self-Perception Theory – based on the behavioral approach of Skinner, SPT states
that in order to understand why people do certain things, we should examine their