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SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
ASPECTS OF ATTITUDES
• Can be changed or new ones learned
• Not formed casually or quickly
• Can motivate or cause to act
• One can choose to act or not
• Values serve as a foundation for attitudes
• Structure and Function of Attitudes There are a number of
different views about what an attitude is:
• – an affective orientation toward, or evaluation of, an attitude object
(one-component model, socio-cognitive model); (Feeling)
• – a mental readiness to act and a guide for how to respond and guides
our evaluations (two-component model); (Thought and feeling)
• – or a combination of information about, and feelings and behavioral
intentions toward, an object (three- component model). (Thought,
Feeling and Action/Behavior)
Structure and Function of Attitudes
• “The three-component model is probably most popular. Generally,
attitudes are useful because they are enduring and they provide a
cognitive and affective orientation toward objects and thus help us
pursue goal-directed thought and action.”
• Function of Attitudes
• Katz (1960)
• – Knowledge
• – Instrumentality (means to an end or a goal)
• – Ego-defense (protects ones own self-esteem)
• – Value-expressiveness (allow people to display those values
that uniquely identify and define them).
• Structure and Function of Attitudes
• According to cognitive consistency theories, our attitudes should be
relatively congruent with one another because we seek consistency
among our cognitions.
• Specifically, we seek balance between how we feel about an object,
how someone else feels about an object, and how we feel about that
other person (balance theory). Heider’s theory of attitude change
• If you and I like apples, it would be unbalanced if I did not like you.
Forming attitudes
• Attitude formation can rest on direct experience with the attitude
object; mere exposure to an object can influence how much we like or
dislike it and thus our attitude toward it (Zajonc,1968).
• • We can also acquire positive or negative attitudes toward an object
by direct reinforcement or punishment associated with the object, or
by observing someone else being rewarded or punished(modelling)
• – Classical Conditioning: Attitudes paired with positive or negative
effects
• – Spreading Attitude effect: Ripple effect of meeting different people
• – Instrumental Conditioning: Positive consequences more likely to be
repeated, while negative effect are not.
• – Observational Learning: Rewards and Punishment and modelling.
Forming Attitudes
• Through whatever process we form an attitude, one of the most
important sources of enduring attitudes is our parents, and later our
peer groups.
• – Parents
• – Teachers
• – Friends
• – Mass Media
Can attitudes predict behavior?
• The utility of attitudes, both theoretically and practically, rests largely on
how much people’s attitudes influence their behavior.
• It is only possible to predict behavior from attitudes if the attitude is very
specific and is oriented toward an intention to behave in a certain way.
• Examples of studies, i.e. drink or ethnic tolerance, small correlation
between what people report and what they do (Gregson & Stacey, 1981;
La Piere).
• General attitudes are very poor predictors of specific behaviours but can
predict an average of a wider range of behaviours (multiple-act criterion).
• Can attitudes predict behaviour?
• • The two main theories of attitude-behaviour relations are:
• • (a) the theory of reasoned action (people behave in line with their
attitudes if they have a favorable attitude and there is general social
support for the behaviour), and
• • (b) the theory of planned behaviour, which added that people also
need to feel that performance of the behaviour is under their control.
When these conditions are met, people’s behavioral intentions (and to
a lesser extent their actual behaviour) can be quite well predicted.
• The theory of planned behavior holds that human action is guided by
three kinds of considerations:
• – Beliefs about the likely outcomes of the behavior and the
evaluations of these outcomes (behavioral beliefs or Attitudes)
• – Beliefs about the normative expectations of others and motivation
to comply with these expectations (normative beliefs/Subjective
Norm)
• – Beliefs about the presence of factors that may facilitate or impede
performance of the behavior and the perceived power of these
factors (control beliefs/Perceived Behavioral Control).
• Attitude - An evaluation of a person, object, or idea. The focus of
one's attitude, or what they are evaluating, is called the attitude
object. Attitudes can be broken down into three different parts which
together create an evaluation of the attitude object.
1. Affective Component - This consists of the emotional reactions people have to attitude objects.
For instance, if you have a favourite singer and you hear their voice come on the radio you might
have feelings of happiness or excitement. If there is a car you think is ugly looking you might feel
annoyed when you spot one on the road.
2. Behavioural Component - This consists of actions or observable behavior that is the result of an
attitude object. If you hear a song you like on the radio then you might go home and research the
singer so you can buy their album. You might then spend all your free time listening to this album.
The attitude object has changed your behavior and actions.
3. Cognitive Component - These are the thoughts and beliefs people have about an attitude object.
For instance, you might like a singer because he or she has a melodic voice and catchy lyrics. You
might also believe that the singer is a lot like you are which makes the music easier to relate to.
• When these three components are combined they work to create an overall attitude about an attitude
object.
ATTITUDE BASES
• Cognitively Based Attitudes
• When a person's opinion about something is based primarily on the beliefs or facts they have, then it is called
a cognitively based attitude. These kinds of attitudes allow people to classify an attitudinal object by its
pluses and minuses. By doing this, it is easier to decide whether or not a person likes and wants to have
anything to do with an object, idea, or person. Such attitudes rely on logic since a person effectively weighs
the good and bad before drawing conclusions. An example of a cognitively based attitude might be thinking
that the house you just bought is great because it is moderately sized and located near some good schools.
• Affectively Based Attitudes
• When a person forms an opinion of something based on emotions and values, rather than objective beliefs, they
have created an affectively based attitude. A boy might like a girl just because of the way she makes him feel.
A girl might love her car because it runs smoothly, doesn't eat up a lot of gas, and has given her many good
memories. People might form an affectively based attitude about Snickers candy bars because the taste brings
them pleasure. Attitudes about sex, politics, and religion are likely to be affectively based since these topics
often tug at a person's heart strings rather than stimulate the logical mind. Affectively based attitudes can come
from religious and moral beliefs, such as whether or not women should have the right to an abortion. Such
attitudes are formed not through logic so much as on inner feelings and values. Affectively based attitudes can
also result from conditioning.
Classical Conditioning - Sometimes smells, colors and other sensory
information can elicit strong emotional response. Such emotional responses
are probably created through classical conditioning. When a stimulus elicits an
emotional response it is accompanied by a neutral stimulus which does not
cause an emotional response. If the stimuli continue then eventually the
neutral stimulus will be able to cause the emotional response without the need
of the original, actual stimulus. For instance, if when you were young you often
went to a field that smelled strongly of roses, then chances are the smell of
roses will make you recall memories of your time in that field. This is the
process of classical conditioning, and it can create attitudes about things that
our based on stimuli.
Operant Conditioning - When people choose to engage in behaviors, those
behaviors will be reinforced when followed by a reward. If punishment follows
an action then it is being negatively reinforced and the person will perform that
action less often. If a young girl were to try and play with a boy she met at
school, but her parents frequently punished her for it, telling her that "boys are
bad", then she will most likely develop the same negative attitude toward boys
as her parents have. If her actions were reinforced positively by her parents,
then she might not develop a negative attitude about boys.
• Bahaviorially Based Attitudes
• These attitudes come from observations of behavior toward something. Sometimes people don't know how to
feel until they see how they behave. This is one of the arguments in Daryl Bem's self-perception theory. An
example of this would be if someone were to not realize that the reason they walk through the park every
morning on their way to school is because the trees and grass make them happy or peaceful. This attitude was
formed after they had developed a routine that they hadn't been consciously considering or wondering about.
Such attitudes are based on observation of behavior and not on cognitions or affect.
• Explicit and Implicit Attitudes
• When a person consciously endorses and easily reports an attitude, then that attitude is explicit. These are the
opinions that are most accessible, or at the top of people's heads. For instance, if one person asked another what
their favorite kind of restaurants are like then the person answering should be able to access their explicit attitudes
on the subject by thinking about their favorite restaurants. On the other hand there are implicit attitudes, which are
involuntary, uncontrollable, and sometimes unconscious evaluations people make. Many implicit attitudes are
based on values that are deeply ingrained into our psyche. For instance, someone who was raised to respect women
and wait until marriage to have sex might automatically dislike a movie he watches where all of the main
characters are misogynistic and having promiscuous sex. This attitude comes involuntarily and there is nothing the
person can do about it since it is coming from an unconscious part of the mind.
• Attitude Change
• Attitudes can change for a number of reasons. It is a key interest of psychologists, advertisers, and more to
understand what makes people change their beliefs or opinions. Attitudes most commonly change in response
to social influence. What other people do or say can have a huge effect on our own cognitions. The whole
advertising industry functions on the knowledge that people's attitudes toward products or services can be
molded through the use of imagery and/or sound. There are certain conditions that must exist for a person's
attitude to change.
ATTITUDE IS A LITTLE THING THAT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE
-Winston Churchill

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Social psychology

  • 2. ASPECTS OF ATTITUDES • Can be changed or new ones learned • Not formed casually or quickly • Can motivate or cause to act • One can choose to act or not • Values serve as a foundation for attitudes
  • 3. • Structure and Function of Attitudes There are a number of different views about what an attitude is: • – an affective orientation toward, or evaluation of, an attitude object (one-component model, socio-cognitive model); (Feeling) • – a mental readiness to act and a guide for how to respond and guides our evaluations (two-component model); (Thought and feeling) • – or a combination of information about, and feelings and behavioral intentions toward, an object (three- component model). (Thought, Feeling and Action/Behavior)
  • 4. Structure and Function of Attitudes • “The three-component model is probably most popular. Generally, attitudes are useful because they are enduring and they provide a cognitive and affective orientation toward objects and thus help us pursue goal-directed thought and action.”
  • 5. • Function of Attitudes • Katz (1960) • – Knowledge • – Instrumentality (means to an end or a goal) • – Ego-defense (protects ones own self-esteem) • – Value-expressiveness (allow people to display those values that uniquely identify and define them).
  • 6. • Structure and Function of Attitudes • According to cognitive consistency theories, our attitudes should be relatively congruent with one another because we seek consistency among our cognitions. • Specifically, we seek balance between how we feel about an object, how someone else feels about an object, and how we feel about that other person (balance theory). Heider’s theory of attitude change • If you and I like apples, it would be unbalanced if I did not like you.
  • 7. Forming attitudes • Attitude formation can rest on direct experience with the attitude object; mere exposure to an object can influence how much we like or dislike it and thus our attitude toward it (Zajonc,1968). • • We can also acquire positive or negative attitudes toward an object by direct reinforcement or punishment associated with the object, or by observing someone else being rewarded or punished(modelling) • – Classical Conditioning: Attitudes paired with positive or negative effects • – Spreading Attitude effect: Ripple effect of meeting different people • – Instrumental Conditioning: Positive consequences more likely to be repeated, while negative effect are not. • – Observational Learning: Rewards and Punishment and modelling.
  • 8. Forming Attitudes • Through whatever process we form an attitude, one of the most important sources of enduring attitudes is our parents, and later our peer groups. • – Parents • – Teachers • – Friends • – Mass Media
  • 9. Can attitudes predict behavior? • The utility of attitudes, both theoretically and practically, rests largely on how much people’s attitudes influence their behavior. • It is only possible to predict behavior from attitudes if the attitude is very specific and is oriented toward an intention to behave in a certain way. • Examples of studies, i.e. drink or ethnic tolerance, small correlation between what people report and what they do (Gregson & Stacey, 1981; La Piere). • General attitudes are very poor predictors of specific behaviours but can predict an average of a wider range of behaviours (multiple-act criterion).
  • 10. • Can attitudes predict behaviour? • • The two main theories of attitude-behaviour relations are: • • (a) the theory of reasoned action (people behave in line with their attitudes if they have a favorable attitude and there is general social support for the behaviour), and • • (b) the theory of planned behaviour, which added that people also need to feel that performance of the behaviour is under their control. When these conditions are met, people’s behavioral intentions (and to a lesser extent their actual behaviour) can be quite well predicted.
  • 11. • The theory of planned behavior holds that human action is guided by three kinds of considerations: • – Beliefs about the likely outcomes of the behavior and the evaluations of these outcomes (behavioral beliefs or Attitudes) • – Beliefs about the normative expectations of others and motivation to comply with these expectations (normative beliefs/Subjective Norm) • – Beliefs about the presence of factors that may facilitate or impede performance of the behavior and the perceived power of these factors (control beliefs/Perceived Behavioral Control).
  • 12. • Attitude - An evaluation of a person, object, or idea. The focus of one's attitude, or what they are evaluating, is called the attitude object. Attitudes can be broken down into three different parts which together create an evaluation of the attitude object.
  • 13. 1. Affective Component - This consists of the emotional reactions people have to attitude objects. For instance, if you have a favourite singer and you hear their voice come on the radio you might have feelings of happiness or excitement. If there is a car you think is ugly looking you might feel annoyed when you spot one on the road. 2. Behavioural Component - This consists of actions or observable behavior that is the result of an attitude object. If you hear a song you like on the radio then you might go home and research the singer so you can buy their album. You might then spend all your free time listening to this album. The attitude object has changed your behavior and actions. 3. Cognitive Component - These are the thoughts and beliefs people have about an attitude object. For instance, you might like a singer because he or she has a melodic voice and catchy lyrics. You might also believe that the singer is a lot like you are which makes the music easier to relate to. • When these three components are combined they work to create an overall attitude about an attitude object.
  • 14. ATTITUDE BASES • Cognitively Based Attitudes • When a person's opinion about something is based primarily on the beliefs or facts they have, then it is called a cognitively based attitude. These kinds of attitudes allow people to classify an attitudinal object by its pluses and minuses. By doing this, it is easier to decide whether or not a person likes and wants to have anything to do with an object, idea, or person. Such attitudes rely on logic since a person effectively weighs the good and bad before drawing conclusions. An example of a cognitively based attitude might be thinking that the house you just bought is great because it is moderately sized and located near some good schools.
  • 15. • Affectively Based Attitudes • When a person forms an opinion of something based on emotions and values, rather than objective beliefs, they have created an affectively based attitude. A boy might like a girl just because of the way she makes him feel. A girl might love her car because it runs smoothly, doesn't eat up a lot of gas, and has given her many good memories. People might form an affectively based attitude about Snickers candy bars because the taste brings them pleasure. Attitudes about sex, politics, and religion are likely to be affectively based since these topics often tug at a person's heart strings rather than stimulate the logical mind. Affectively based attitudes can come from religious and moral beliefs, such as whether or not women should have the right to an abortion. Such attitudes are formed not through logic so much as on inner feelings and values. Affectively based attitudes can also result from conditioning.
  • 16. Classical Conditioning - Sometimes smells, colors and other sensory information can elicit strong emotional response. Such emotional responses are probably created through classical conditioning. When a stimulus elicits an emotional response it is accompanied by a neutral stimulus which does not cause an emotional response. If the stimuli continue then eventually the neutral stimulus will be able to cause the emotional response without the need of the original, actual stimulus. For instance, if when you were young you often went to a field that smelled strongly of roses, then chances are the smell of roses will make you recall memories of your time in that field. This is the process of classical conditioning, and it can create attitudes about things that our based on stimuli. Operant Conditioning - When people choose to engage in behaviors, those behaviors will be reinforced when followed by a reward. If punishment follows an action then it is being negatively reinforced and the person will perform that action less often. If a young girl were to try and play with a boy she met at school, but her parents frequently punished her for it, telling her that "boys are bad", then she will most likely develop the same negative attitude toward boys as her parents have. If her actions were reinforced positively by her parents, then she might not develop a negative attitude about boys.
  • 17. • Bahaviorially Based Attitudes • These attitudes come from observations of behavior toward something. Sometimes people don't know how to feel until they see how they behave. This is one of the arguments in Daryl Bem's self-perception theory. An example of this would be if someone were to not realize that the reason they walk through the park every morning on their way to school is because the trees and grass make them happy or peaceful. This attitude was formed after they had developed a routine that they hadn't been consciously considering or wondering about. Such attitudes are based on observation of behavior and not on cognitions or affect.
  • 18. • Explicit and Implicit Attitudes • When a person consciously endorses and easily reports an attitude, then that attitude is explicit. These are the opinions that are most accessible, or at the top of people's heads. For instance, if one person asked another what their favorite kind of restaurants are like then the person answering should be able to access their explicit attitudes on the subject by thinking about their favorite restaurants. On the other hand there are implicit attitudes, which are involuntary, uncontrollable, and sometimes unconscious evaluations people make. Many implicit attitudes are based on values that are deeply ingrained into our psyche. For instance, someone who was raised to respect women and wait until marriage to have sex might automatically dislike a movie he watches where all of the main characters are misogynistic and having promiscuous sex. This attitude comes involuntarily and there is nothing the person can do about it since it is coming from an unconscious part of the mind.
  • 19. • Attitude Change • Attitudes can change for a number of reasons. It is a key interest of psychologists, advertisers, and more to understand what makes people change their beliefs or opinions. Attitudes most commonly change in response to social influence. What other people do or say can have a huge effect on our own cognitions. The whole advertising industry functions on the knowledge that people's attitudes toward products or services can be molded through the use of imagery and/or sound. There are certain conditions that must exist for a person's attitude to change.
  • 20. ATTITUDE IS A LITTLE THING THAT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE -Winston Churchill