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Unformatted text preview: Attitudes Lecture Overview Attitude Formation Attitude Change AttitudeBehavior Link Persuasion Cognitive Dissonance Theory The Nature and Origin of Attitudes We are not neutral observers of the world; we evaluate what we encounter. We form attitudes: evaluations of people, objects or ideas. Possessing an attitude increases the ease, speed, and quality of decision making. Attitudes are often a matter of good or bad; as soon as you know what something is, you start to know whether you like it or dislike it. The Nature and Origin of Attitudes Attitudes are made up of three parts that together form our evaluation: beliefs, feelings, and actions. Any given attitude can be based more on one type of experience than another. A cognitively based attitude is based on an objective appraisal of the properties of an object. An attitude based more on emotions and values than on an objective appraisal of pluses and minuses is called an affectively based attitude. Where do affectively based attitudes come from? A behaviorally based attitude is based on observations of how you behave toward an object (i.e., social perception theory). People's values, such as religious and moral beliefs. Sensory reaction, such as liking the taste of a food. Aesthetic reaction, such as admiring a painting. Conditioning. Explicit versus Implicit Attitudes Explicit attitudes are attitudes that we consciously endorse and can easily report. Implicit attitudes are involuntary, uncontrollable, and at times unconscious. Explicit and implicit attitudes may conflict with each other. The Implicit Association Test measures attitudes that people are unwilling or unable to report. Do Attitudes Predict Behavior? Do people act on the basis of what they like and dislike? LaPiere, 1934 Attitude Formation Attitudes are based on mere associations (Lorge 1936). "A little rebellion every now and then is a good thing." Attitude Formation Are people irrational? Asch's Critique of Lorge's Experiment: Subjects were not responding to the same stimuli in phase 1 and phase 2. Subjects were being rational when they considered who wrote the statements. Attitude Formation Social Comparison Compare ourselves to others to determine whether we hold the correct views Genetic Factors May influence general dispositions AttitudeBehavior Link LaPiere's evidence (1934) that attitudes don't always predict behavior When attitudes are strong, behavior is predictable Attitude Ambivalence Strength predicted by attitude origins, attitude strength, and whether the person has a vested interest in the attitude they hold We often have positive and negative evaluations of the same attitude object AttitudeBehavior Link
Self Perception Theory (Bem, 1965) Self Perception Theory (Bem, 1965) Attitudes are inferred from behavior. Attitude Behavior Link Self Perception Theory (Lepper & Green, 1975)
% Playing with Puzzle 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Expected Unexpected Rew ard Attitude Change
Persuasion Cognitive Dissonance Theory Persuasion
Persuasion is a form of influence that predisposes, but does not impose. It alters others' judgments, and not just their behavior. It affects their sense of what is true or false, probable or improbable, their evaluations of people, events, ideas, proposals; their private and public commitments to take this or that action, perhaps even their basic values and ideologies. Herbert Simon Persuasive Communications and Attitude Change Yale Attitude Change Approach The study of the conditions under which people are most likely to change their attitudes in response to persuasive messages, focusing on "who said what to whom"--the source of the communication, the nature of the communication, and the nature of the audience. The Central and Peripheral Routes to Persuasion The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; Petty et al., 2005), specifies when people will be influenced by what the speech says (i.e., the logic of the arguments) and when they will be influenced by more superficial characteristics (e.g., who gives the speech or how long it is). Central Route to Persuasion When people are motivated and have the ability to pay attention to the arguments in the communication. Peripheral Route to Persuasion When people do not pay attention to the arguments but are instead swayed by surface characteristics. The Central and Peripheral Routes to Persuasion The more personally relevant an issue is, the more willing people are to pay attention to the arguments in a speech, and therefore the more likely people are to take the central route to persuasion.
Petty, Cacioppo, and Goldman, 1981 The Central and Peripheral Routes to Persuasion Compared to people who base their attitudes on peripheral cues, people who base their attitudes on a careful analysis of the arguments will be: More likely to maintain this attitude over time, More likely to behave consistently with this attitude, More resistant to counterpersuasion. Emotion and Attitude Change Do feararousing communications work? If a moderate amount of fear is created and people believe that listening to the message will teach them how to reduce this fear, they will be motivated to analyze the message carefully and will likely change their attitudes via the central route. Leventhal, Watts, and Pagano, 1967 Information Processing as a Commodity Model (Brock)
Which of the following communications would you prefer?
1a. information that is common knowledge, or b. a juicy bit of gossip that no one else knows. 2a. a story a friend begs you to listen to, or b. a story you have to beg your friend to reveal. 3a. an official account of a government scandal, or b. an account the government has tried to censor. 4a. a story that reveals its ending from the very start, or b. a story that builds suspense by delaying the conclusion According to Brock's model, factors that make information valuable and increase demand: Scarcity, Effort, Restriction, Delay Cognitive Response Theory
Theory holds that people actively compare persuasive messages to what they already know. Distraction: Is all heckling bad? Should you personalize the message? What about message repetition? How can I keep those I've convinced from changing their minds? Resisting Persuasive Messages Attitude Inoculation Reactance Theory Making people immune to attempts to change their attitudes by initially exposing them to small doses of the arguments against their position. The idea that when people feel their freedom to perform a certain behavior is threatened, an unpleasant state of reactance is aroused, which they can reduce by performing the threatened behavior. The Lazy Information Processor Approach
Heuristic decision rules (quick, easy responses to messages) allow receivers to bypass message content. "Let me have a favor from you because I need a favor." The case of a turkey and a polecat. Another example: Expensive = Good Conditions for Mindless Processing: Low motivation, Low comprehension, or Heuristic cues highly salient Heider's Balance Theory Balance theory assumes that people will try to restore balance among their attitudes. When the relationship between all three cognitive elements is positive, or when one relationship is positive and the other two are negative, there is balance. When two relationships are positive and one is negative, or when all three are negative, there is imbalance. Balance is most often restored in whichever way is easiest. If one relationship is weaker than the two, the easiest mode of restoring balance is to change the weaker relationship. Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) states that you want your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to be consistent with one another. If there is an inconsistency, you will feel an unpleasant state of arousal (i.e., cognitive dissonance) as a result. Cognitive dissonance is strongest when your actions are discrepant from your view of yourself as smart, moral, and reasonable. Inducing Cognitive Dissonance Agree or disagree? Exercising at least three times a week promotes good health. It is important for all eligible citizens to vote if the government is to reflect the will of the people. Conscientiously recycling used materials helps the environment. It can be dangerous to drink and drive. Yes or no? Do you regularly exercise three times a week? Did you vote in the last election for which you were eligible? Do you regularly recycle cans, newspapers, and other recyclables? Have you ever driven a car after drinking more than two drinks? Reducing Cognitive Dissonance By changing our behavior to bring it in line with the dissonant attitude. By changing our attitude to bring it in line with the dissonant behavior. By attempting to justify our behavior by adding new cognitions. Insufficient Justification External Justification A reason or an explanation for dissonant personal behavior that resides outside the individual(e.g., in order to receive a large reward or avoid a severe punishment). Internal Justification The reduction of dissonance by changing something about oneself (e.g., one's attitude or behavior). The less external justification for the behavior, the more the attitude shifts to correspond to the behavior. Festinger and Carlsmith, 1959 Insufficient Justification
Attitudes Toward a Boring Experimental Task as a Function of the Payment Received
Festinger and Carlsmith, 1959
2 Attitudes Toward Task 1.5 1 0.5 0 -0.45 -0.5 -1 1.35 -0.05 Control $1 $20 Insufficient Punishment Just as small rewards can sometimes produce more liking for a task than do large rewards, mild punishment can create greater disliking for an activity than severe punishment. Aronson and Carlsmith, 1963 The dissonance aroused when individuals lack sufficient external justification for having resisted a desired activity or object, usually resulting in individuals' devaluing the forbidden activity or object. Postdecision Dissonance You reduce dissonance by downplaying the negative aspects of the alternative you chose and the positive aspects of the alternative you rejected. The more permanent the decision, the Brehm, 1956 greater the dissonance. Knox and Inkster, 1968 The Ben Franklin Effect "I did not ... aim at gaining his favour by paying any servile respect to him but, after some time, took this other method. Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book I wrote a note to him expressing my desire of perusing that book and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately and I returned it in about a week with another note expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged." (Franklin, 1868/1900, pp. 216217) Justification of Effort The tendency for individuals to increase their liking for something they have put a lot of effort into to attain it. Aronson and Mills, 1959 Hating Your Victim Do we hurt the people we hate, or do we hate the people we hurt? Why does war lead to the dehumanizing of the enemy? ...
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- Spring '07
- Cognitive Dissonance