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- set of beliefs that we hold in relation to an attitude object, where an attitude object is a person, thing, event or issue
- a positive or negative evaluation of an object
Four ways in which attitudes can form
- mere exposure
- associative learning
- functional reasons
Mere exposure effect
- the more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more positive our attitude is toward it
- tendency to develop more positive feelings toward objects and individuals the more we are exposed to them
True or false: Action/interaction is not required in the mere exposure effect
What experiment did Zajonc perform in 1968?
- Participants were told they were in an experiment to determine how people learn a foreign language, but it was actually to test the mere exposure effect
- 10 Chinese-like characters on the computer screen for 2 seconds each, some were shown a lot, some just once
- The second part of the test, the participants were told the characters were adjectives and they were asked to decide if they were positive or negative
- Participants thought the characters they saw more often were positive
- The more exposure they had to the character, the more positive they felt it was
- The more we see something, the more we like it
Who performed a study similar to Zajonc's on the mere exposure effect?
Mita, Dermer and Knight (1977)
What was Mita et. al's study in 1977?
- On the mere exposure effect
- Took a picture of the participants and showed them the picture and the mirror image of the picture
- Also showed both pictures to friends of the participants
- Participants preferred the mirror image picture because it's what they saw when they looked in the mirror, while the friend's preferred the original picture because it's what they see when they look at their friend
- Preference was higher for the perspective that was most commonly experienced by the person rating the photo
Who performed a study on the mere exposure effect and music preference?
Brickman, Redfield, Harrison, and Crandall (1972)
What were the methods and results of the study Brickman et. al performed in 1972?
- Study on the mere exposure effect
- Undergraduate students listened to 90 second segments of 5 rock and roll songs
- They either listened to each song 0, 1, 2, 5 or 10 times
- At the end, they listened to a 3-5 second segment from the chorus of each song and were asked to rate how much they liked the song
- They found a DECREASE in liking with increased exposure
- Participants began with a report of liking rock and roll but at the end of the study they said they didn't like the antiquated style of the music in this experiment
- Brickman et al performed another study in which participants were exposed to abstract paintings they had previously rated very positively, very negatively or neutrally. People with initially neutral impressions liked the paintings more with repeated exposure as did people with initially positive impressions. However, participants with an initially negative attitude liked the paintings less
- The effectiveness of mere exposure for improving attitudes depends on the initial attitude being neutral or positive
What does the mere exposure effect assume about stimuli?
That they are novel and neutral
- type of associative learning in which two things become strongly connected because we are repeatedly exposed to them
- When a neutral stimulus is paired with a stimulus that naturally evokes an emotional response - pairing is required
What study used classical conditioning in 1958?
- Staats and Staats
- Paired "Dutch" with negative words and "Swedish" with positive and vice-versa
- Repeated associations of the positive words with Dutch or Swedish, led to a more positive evaluation of the group - associative learning
What study used pairing of aversive stimuli with nonsense words and what were the results?
- Cacioppo et al
- Classical conditioning experiment in which they found pairing aversive stimuli with nonsense words created more of a negative association with those words
- This suggests that associative learning may be a more powerful determinant of attitude formation when little knowledge is available about the attitude object
- type of associative learning in which an association forms between a behavior and a consequence
- response-stimulus conditioning (Faraday)
- Behavior is strengthened following rewards and weakened following punishment
- Participants must carry out some action that is either rewarded or punished
- theory proposing that we form attitudes through the observation of our own behavior
- Behaviors can cause attitudes
- We attribute our own behavior as being indicative (caused by) certain attitudes but mainly if little knowledge is available about the issue at hand
Chaiken and Baldwin (1981)
- Study on self-perception theory
- Participants were pre-screened to assess their attitude toward pro-environment practices - self-perception of their attitude
- Participants then were asked either pro- or anti-environmental questions about their behaviors
- Then they were asked to indicate their own attitude toward environmental practices
- Participants induced to report pro behaviors were more likely to rate themselves as pro-environment and the same happened for anti, but only when they had a weak prior attitude
- If participants had a strong prior attitude, there was no effect on their final reported attitude
Facial feedback hypothesis
- people's own facial expression provides a cue to their attitudes; people who are made to smile form a more positive attitude than people made to frown
- self-perception theory
Who tested the facial feedback hypothesis and what were their methods and results?
- Strack, Martin and Stepper (1988)
- Had participants hold a pen between their teeth or between their lips while evaluating a series of humorous cartoon images
- They were asked to form an attitude on how amusing the cartoons were
- Participants holding the pen between their teeth evaluated the cartoons as more humorous because their facial expression made them feel like they were smiling
- Facial 'behaviors' can inform subsequent attitudes
Vascular theory of emotion
- Zajonc, 1993
- alternative explanation offered for the facial feedback hypothesis
- smiling increases blood flow to the brain lowering brain temp, creating a positive mood, and frowning decreases blood flow to the brain increasing brain temp and creating a negative mood
What did Zajonc et al find in 1989 that supported the vascular theory of emotion?
Making vowel sounds that mimicked frowning lowered forehead temperature and mood, whereas vowel sounds that mimicked smiling decreased forehead temperature and elevated mood
attitudes are formed/changed based on the degree to which they satisfy an individual's psychological needs
How is the functional approach to attitude formation different from exposure, learning and self-perception approaches?
It is an active attitude theory, rather than passive
The four basic psychological needs that can influence attitude formation
- We sometimes hold a particular attitude because it is useful for us to do so
- Example: Liking your nursing degree because it will help you get a job in the future
- At times our public attitude may be different from our private attitude
- holding particular attitudes helps us to organize and simplify our social world
- our attitudes enable us to predict behavior of others
- Example: Liking your nursing degree because it provides you with useful information in dealing with people
- Kind of like cognitive schemas
- some attitudes help to protect us from acknowledging threatening self-truths, helping us maintain a positive self-image
- Example: Liking your nursing degree because you really wanted to become a doctor but weren't good enough
- some attitudes express values that are of high personal importance to us (politics, environment, religion)
- Example: Liking your nursing degree because it illustrated your commitment to helping people
What study did LaPierre perform in 1934?
- On attitudes and behavior matching
- He spent 3 months with a young Chinese couple traveling across the US
- He wanted to know how many restaurants and hotels would refuse service to the couple
- Only 1 out of 250 refused to serve the couple
- But, when he sent out letters to same establishments, of the 128 replies, 90% said they would refuse to serve Chinese people
- Attitudes did not predict behavior at all
- This was later linked to a lack of the same specificity between the attitude (general) and behavior (specific Chinese couple)
- Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975
- attitudes and behavior are more likely to correspond if they are at the same level of specificity
- the determinant of attitude-behavior link
- specific attitudes = specific behaviors
Time (in attitude measurement)
the longer the time between attitude measurement and the measurement of behavior, the more likely it is that the attitude will change
What study was done in time in attitude measurement in 1974?
Fishbein and Coombs observed that the correlation between attitudes and voting behavior was stronger one week before voting in an election compared to one month before voting
How does self-awareness effect behavior?
- Privately self-aware individuals behave in line with their own attitude (private attitude predicts private behavior)
- Publicly self-aware individuals behave in line with the attitude they perceive the majority of other people to hold (public attitude predicts public behavior)
What three things can effect attitude strength and attitude-behavior consistency?
- Greater information about attitude object
- Greater personal involvement with attitude object
- Greater direct experience with attitude object
- All lead to greater attitude strength and greater attitude-behavior consistency
Availability heuristic for attitude accessibility
- The more accessible an attitude the greater attitude-behavior consistency
- Measured by speed of response to questions concerning the attitude object
The stronger one's attitudes are, the more likely they are to have an influence on behavior
Theory of planned behavior
theory developed to explain the processes by which people deliberately decide to engage in a specific action
Who performed a study on the theory of planned behavior in 1975? What about in 1999?
- Fishbein and Ajzen
- Terry, Hogg and White
What were the study methods and results of Terry et al's study on group norms and behavioral intentions?
- Terry et al said that in some cases subjective norms could be better conceptualized as group norms
- 143 participants from households that had access to recycling bins were asked to report how likely it was that they would engage in household recycling during the following fortnight
- They were also asked how many of their friends and peer they thought would engage in household recycling and how much they thought their friends and peers would approve of them engaging in household recycling
- They were also asked how much they identified with and fit in with their group of friends and peers
- Participants who strongly identified with their peer group had stronger behavioral intentions if they believed their group had strong norms concerning recycling and the opposite was true for participants without a strong identity
Three factors, when together, can predict behavioral intentions
- Attitude toward behavior
- Subjective norms
- Perceived control
How are attitudes determined?
By one's beliefs about the consequences of performing the behavior and one's evaluation of the possible consequences of performing the behavior
perceived expectations of significant others who may approve or disapprove of the planned behavior
person's perception of how easy or difficult it is to perform the behavior
a person's attitude, subjective norms and perceived control over the behavior combine in an interactive way to determine behavioral intention, which in turn determines whether or not the behavior will be carried out
set of shared beliefs about how group members should think and behave
when we have no (or very weak) prior existing attitudes on a particular issues we can infer our attitudes from observing our own behaviors
Reasoned action vs spontaneity
- Many social behaviors are automatic and do not entail much deliberate thought
- Reasoned action = naive scientist = systematic processing
- Spontaneity = cognitive miser = heuristics
Cognitive dissonance theory
- when people behave in a way that is inconsistent with their existing attitude, they experience discomfort
- to eliminate this discomfort, it is necessary to adjust one's attitude in line with one's behavior
What is the heart of cognitive dissonance theory?
Motivational instead of cognitive
Who developed the cognitive dissonance theory?
What study did Festinger and Carlsmith perform in 1959?
- Cognitive dissonance theory
- Participants had to complete one of two boring tasks for an hour, and then were told to lie to the next participant and tell them it was great
- They were offered $1 or $20, and the control group did not have to lie and were not offered money
- After completing the task, all participants were asked to give their true attitude regarding how fun and interesting the task really was
- The $1 participants experienced greater inconsistency between their attitude and behavior than the $20 participants so they changed their attitude to match their behavior, while the $20 participants had enough justification to tell their lie
Three key factors that determine whether cognitive dissonance occurs
if people can justify why they behaved inconsistently with their attitudes, they are less likely to change their attitude in line with their behavior
Freedom of choice
if a person is forced to behave in a way that contravenes their attitudes, they have a justification for their behavior and will therefore be unlikely to change their attitude in line with their behavior
the more invested someone is in their point of view, the stronger the effect of dissonance will be
What was Aronson's argument accounting for cognitive dissonance and self-perceptions theories are both correct?
- Cognitive dissonance will occur when discrepancies are clear and distinct, the attitude in question is important for the self-concept, and when it is not possible to explain away the discrepancy
- When discrepancies are mild and/or the attitude is not particularly important to someone, then self-perception processes are likely to operate
when attitudes change as a result of being influenced by an EXTERNAL message
Dual route models of persuasion
- models that propose our attitudes can be changed as a result of external messages via two different routes (central and peripheral)
- proved most successful in explaining how, when and why people are or are not persuaded by others
Petty and Cacioppo (1986) argued that attitudes could change via two routes depending on how much an individual elaborates on the message - central or peripheral
Chaiken (1980) argued that when people hear a persuasive communication, they either process it systematically, considering its strengths or weaknesses, or use heuristic 'short-cuts'
- when people are motivated and able to think carefully about the content of a message, they are influenced by the strength and quality of the arguments
- (systematic/naive scientist)
- when people are unwilling or unable to analyze message content, they instead pay attention to cues that are irrelevant to the content or quality of the communication to make a decision more quickly and with less effort
- (heuristic/cognitive miser)
True or false: the peripheral route of attitude change develops attitudes that are weaker, less resistant to counter argument and less predictive of behavior than central route attitudes
Five factors influencing what route (central or peripheral) is taken
- Speed of speech
- Individual differences
Makes it hard to process the content of the message so the peripheral route is used
- good mood = more willing to help; tend to use peripheral route to persuasion
- bad mood = less willing to help; tend to use central route to persuasion
Importance to self
if a decision we have to make is important to us, or is likely to have personal consequences, we are more likely to think in depth about the issue, taking the central route to persuasion, rather than relying on heuristics
Martin and Hewstone did a study in 2003 on minorities and majorities changing attitudes in different ways. What were their methods and results?
- On importance to self
- Participants in favor of voluntary euthanasia and against single currency in Europe read a counter-attitudinal argument
- Participants either received the message from a minority source or a majority source and read either strong evidence based messages or weak messages on the topic
- When the message did not have a very negative personal outcome for participants people receiving info from a minority source were more persuaded by strong message, whereas people receiving info from a majority source were equally influenced by strong and weak message
- In contrast, when the message concerned was perceived as having a very negative personal outcome, people receiving info from a majority source were more persuaded by strong messages
- A MAJORITY SOURCE IS LIKELY TO LEAD TO HEURISTIC PROCESSING WHEREAS A MINORITY SOURCE IS MORE LIKELY TO LEAD TO SYSTEMATIC PROCESSING
Need for cognition - individual difference
- the degree to which an individual is oriented to engaging in effortful thought
- people high in need for cognition are more likely to take the central route to persuasion
Need for closure - individual difference
- tendency to desire knowledge that is clear, stable and unambiguous, as opposed to confusing and uncertain
- people high in need for closure are more likely to take the central route to persuasion
Need to evaluate
- some people have a stronger tendency than others to judge the nature of objects, people and situation
- the stronger this tendency, the great the use of the central route to persuasion
- degree to which someone is concerned with what other people think of them
- people high in self-monitoring are more likely to take the central route to persuasion
relevant humor leads to the central route, while irrelevant humor leads to the peripheral route
What are the cues when the peripheral route is taken in persuasion?
- Physical attractiveness
- Similarity to self
- Source credibility
we are more likely to be persuaded by someone who is physically attractive than someone who is unattractive
Similarity to self
we are more likely to be persuaded by someone who is similar to us in terms of shared attitudes, appearance or social categories
- a key peripheral cue to persuasion
- if the source of a persuasive argument is an expert on the topic, or appears to be unbiased and trustworthy, we are more likely to perceive them to be credible, and to accept their message
- we encode info about the source of the argument as well as the argument but our memory of the source decays over time
- if the source was not credible, we may be persuaded more by the argument over time
- if the source was credible, we may be persuaded less by the argument over time, as we forget info about the source
What is the sleeper effect?
The delayed effectiveness of a persuasive message from a non-credible source
Who performed a study on the sleeper effect and what were the methods and results?
- Hovland and Weiss, 1951
- Participants read an article stating that nuclear submarines were safe by a credible author or an incredible author
- Immediate results = high credibility source had the greater persuasion
- 4 weeks later = effect of source credibility had disappeared (source memory had disappeared) and content was the only thing recalled