Submitted To: Ma’am Irum Abbasi
Submitted By: Hina Anjum
Submitted On: Sept. 27, 2012
Evaluating and Responding to the Social World
( F A C U L T Y O F S O C I A L S C I E N C E S - D E P A R T M E N T O F M E D I A & C O M M U N I C A T I O N S T U D I E S )
Attitudes: Evaluating and Responding to the Social World
October 12, 2012
A Formal Analysis of ‘Attitudes’
The focus of the present chapter is to understand the role of social learning in attitude formation,
persuasion and resistance to persuasion, cognitive dissonance and the role of automatic and
controlled or systematic information processing.
People analysis of various aspects of the social world refers to attitude. Different people can have
different attitudes. Some attitudes are certain and quiet stable and resistant to change while other
attitudes nay be relatively unclear, unstable and show considerable variability depending on the
situation. Sometimes we compare ourselves with others to determine whether our view of social
reality is correct or not. Through social comparison, we tend to adopt the attitudes of those we
see as similar to ourselves but not of those we see as dissimilar. There are various factors which
affect the strength of relationship between attitudes and behavior. Concern about what others
may think of us can limit the extent to which our attitudes and behavior are constant. When we
erroneously believe that others have different attitudes than us then it is pluralistic ignorance.
This can also limit the extent to which we express our attitudes in public.
Some other factors that affect the strength of the relationship between attitudes and behavior
relate to the situation in which the attitudes are activated. Efforts to change our attitude through
the use of various kinds of message refer to persuasion. Persuasion focused mainly on the source,
the message and the audience. “Who says, what to, when, with, what effect?” a persuasion
research conducted by Hovland, Janis and Kelley (1953).There are several factors that often
increase resistance to persuasion. Reactance---- negative reactions to threats to one’s personal
freedom and fore warming---- the knowledge that someone is trying to change our attitudes,
often increase resistance to persuasion. We can also maintain our existing attitude by selective
avoidance i.e. the tendency to overlook the information that opposes our existing views. We
show the greatest resistance to persuasion when we are aware of that we are targets.
According to recent research, the people who are ego depleted, they do not differentiate between
messages with strong and weak arguments and are equally influenced by both whereas the
people who are not ego depleted are influenced only by strong arguments. An unpleasant state
that occurs when we notice disagreement between our attitudes and our behavior is cognitive
dissonance. When we are minimally persuaded by the external factors to say or do things that are
conflicting with our true attitudes refers to dissonance. Stronger reasons produce less attitude
change: this is sometimes referred to as the less-leads-to-more effect.