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Chapter 6, Attitudes

Terms in this set (42)

-Alternative to self-report, Covert Measures? One way to measure a person's attitude is by viewing indirect observable behaviors like facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.

-Support? Wells and Petty (1980) found that when college students listened to a speech that took a position that they agree on (similar attitudes, lower college tuition), then individuals were more likely to make more vertical head movements and in horizontal directions when they disagreed.

-Issues with Covert Measures? People can manipulate their overt (apparent) behavior just like they can monitor their self-reports. AROUSAL reveals the strength of one's attitude towards something, but arousal does not indicate whether the attitude is positive or negative.

-the Facial Electromyograph (EMG): An electronic device that measures facial muscle activity associated with an individuals emotions and attitudes. It can show certain muscles in the face contract when we are happy and different muscles contract when we are sad.

-When people heard an AGREEABLE message activity increased in the CHEEKS, indicating a pattern of HAPPINESS
-When people heard a DISAGREEABLE message more activity was in the FOREHEAD and BROW area indicating SADNESS and DISTRESS

-Electroencephalography (EEG): Created by Hans Burger (1929), it is used to detect, amplify, and record "waves" of electrical activity in the brain using electrodes attached to our scalps.
-EEG's show increase brain activity when an individual is presented with a stimuli that are unusual or unexpected.
-Example: People who were exposed to a list of 10 different things that they like and dislike (sports, TV, politics). Brain activity/waves increase when a DISLIKED object appears after a bunch of LIKED objects from a list. Also, when a LIKED stimulus was shown after a bunch of NEGATIVE items.
-Inconsistency in attitudes are shown in EEG's

-FMRI's, EEG's, and EMG's reveal people react AUTOMATICALLY TO POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ATTITUDE OBJECTS and that these attitudes may be measurable by electrical activity in the brain.
-Implicit Attitudes: An attitude, possibly prejudice or sexism, that one is not aware of.

-Implicit Association Test: It measures our unconscious/implicit attitudes in a sheer second, with which people associate pairs of concepts.

A test takes your racial attitudes can be seen in these steps:

1. You are asked to categorize black or white faces as quickly as you can. Example: hit the left hand key for black face and right hand key for white face

2. Then, you are asked to categorize a set of words Example: right hand key for negative words (evil, war, failure), left hand key for positive words (love, laughter, friend)

3. Then you are asked to combines faces and words. Example: Press the left hand key if you see a black face or a positive word and hit the right key for a white face or negative word.

4. Then you are presented with opposite pairs (black or negative, white or positive) and rapidly pair those faces with either the positive or negative words. Example: black-wonderful, black-failure, white-love, white-evil.

5. Then you are given your score and an explanation why once you're done. Speed is also a way to measure you're implicit attitudes towards one, like pairing black with positive and white with negative; however, you can do that still.

-Other IAT test results show: implicit preference for self over others, white over black, young over old, straight over gay, able over disabled, thin over obese, and the stereotypes that link males with careers and females with their families.

-Greenwald concluded that people's IMPLICIT ATTITUDES are generally LESS PREDICTIVE OF OUR BEHAVIOR than our explicit attitudes.

-IAT's are better at measuring socially sensitive topics for which people tend to conceal or alter about themselves. Example: people who had HIGHER implicit associations between suicide and self were MORE likely to be in the emergency room for a suicide attempt.
Are attitudes inherent?
-Tesser (1993) proposed that strong likes and dislikes are rooted in our genetic makeup.

Support? Research shows that on some issues the attitudes of identical twins are more similar than those of fraternal twins and that twins raised apart are as similar to each other as those who are raised in the same home.

-Tesser also proposed that we are predisposed to hold certain attitudes (sexual promiscuity, religion, and death penalty, POLITICAL), participants were QUICKER to respond and LESS likely to alter their views toward social norms.

-Also, Tesser found that individuals are disposed to hold certain strong attitudes as a result of inborn physical, sensory, and cognitive skills, temperament, and personality traits.

-Are attitudes learned? Our most cherished attitudes often form as a result of our exposure to objects:
1. Our history of rewards and punishments;
2. the attitudes that our parents, friends, and enemies express
3. the social and cultural context in which we live; and other types of experiences.

-Newcomb (1943) found at a women's college in Vermont which was filled with conservative, affluent females, but when the college students encountered professors and older peers who held more liberal views, as time progressed, those students became more liberal in their views.

-Clear link between cultural environment and attitudes, like the US is a house divided into red and blue states).

-People can even FORM strong positive and negative ATTITUDES toward NEUTRAL objects that somehow are linked to emotionally charged stimuli (like the dog and food, pavlov)
-An important factor in the link between attitudes and behaviors is CORRESPONDENCE

-Ajzen and Fischbein (1977), found that attitudes correlate with behavior only when observed attitudes are closely related to the behavior in question. The more specific the initial attitude question was, the better it was at predicting future behavior.

-Theory of Planned Behavior: Proposed by Fischbein and Ajzen (1991), according to this theory, our attitudes influence our behavior through a process of conscious decision making, and the impact is limited in four respects:

1. General attitudes are less influential to cause a behavior than are attitudes towards a specific behavior.

2. Behavior is influenced not only by attitude but by SUBJECTIVE NORMS, our beliefs about what others think we should do. Social pressures to conform often lead us to behave in ways that are at odds with our inner convictions

3. Attitudes can cause a behavior only when we recognize the behavior to be within our CONTROL. To the extent that people lack confidence in their ability to engage in some behavior, they are unlikely to form an intention to do so.

4. Although attitudes (Along with subjective norms and perceived control) can contribute to an INTENTION. People often don't follow through on their intentions.

-Support: this theory that places the link between attitudes and behaviors, in a wide context, has been successful in predicting a range of practical behaviors - condoms, obeying the speed limits, washing hands and other food habits, donating blood, and reducing risky sex)
-The STRONGER the attitude a person holds, the harder it is to change and the stronger it is the more likely it is to cause a future behavior related to that attitude.

Example of views that develop attitudes: Boninger and others (1995) asked individuals various topics such as the legalization of pot, gun control, military spending, abortion, and taxes to find the factors for what makes an attitude strong.
Factors for strong attitudes:

1. Issues that directly affected their self-interest. Ex: A pot head may feel the strongest about legalizing pot because he smokes it everyday (in his self-interest)

2. Related to deeply held philosophical, political, and religious values. Example: Abortion is often frowned upon in certain sects of christianity.

3. Were of concern to their close friends, family, and social ingroups. Example: your parents may hate guns so that may influence how strongly you feel about gun control

4. most important, attitudes are the strongest when individual's are around people with similar/same attitudes making the person harder to resist.

Several factors indicate the strength of an attitude and its connection to causing/determining a behavior:

1. People have a tendency to behave in ways that are consistent with their attitude when they have a stronger knowledge on the topic. Example: college students who knew the factual campaign issues were more likely to develop stronger attitudes towards one candidate than another vs. college students who knew only a snippet of facts (who will have a weaker attitude)

2. Not only does the amount of knowledge matter to acquire strong attitudes, but also how the info is acquired. Attitudes are more concrete and more predictable of behavior when they are based on direct personal experiences (primary info) than when based on secondhand info. Example: people who played a video game tend to be more interested (attitude) vs people who watched a person work on a puzzle. When people experience something and develop an attitude for it, it is more predictive of a future behavior.

3. An attitude can strengthen when an individual resists change to a persuasive message. When people resist a strong message in a convincing manner they become stronger in their attitude and more likely to form a behavioral intention linked to that attitude.
-When people barely resist an argument and see their own counterargument as weak then they are more unsure of their initial attitude and are more prone to later attack.

4. Strong attitudes are highly accessible to awareness, which means they are brought to mind quickly and easily. Example: computer lovers often think about their computer preference, and political activists thinks about their connection to their party.
-When an attitude pops to mind by the perception of it an attitude can trigger behavior in a quick, spontaneous way or making us more careful about how we feel and react to the attitude that popped in our head.
Central Route to Persuasion: The process where a person thinks carefully about the communication they see/hear and are influenced by the strength and quality of the argument made.

-This can only occur when an individual is attentive, active, critical, and thoughtful of the content from the other person's persuasive message

-Studied by Hovland and Colleagues (1949, 1953). They proposed that for a persuasive message to influence a person, the receiver of the message must learn what the message is about and be motivated to accept the message.

Steps for central route persuasion to work:

1. The learning or hearing of a message

2. Accepting the message.
-People who are HIGH in SELF-ESTEEM or SMART are better able to learn a message, but are LESS likely to ACCEPT the MESSAGE and CHANGE THEIR ATTITUDE.
-People who are LOWER in SELF-ESTEEM or NOT SMART are MORE willing to ACCEPT the message, but they may have TROUBLE LEARNING its CONTENT. Neither group is generally more vulnerable to persuasion than the other.

3. ELABORATION, by thinking about and examining the reasonings made in the persuasive message. When we elaborate, it proves the message to be EFFECTIVE if we focus on the favorable things more than the unfavorable. Example: pro con list, a method of elaborating an argument

-This can only occur when an individual is attentive, active, critical, and thoughtful of the content from the other person's persuasive message.

-What makes a message strong in Central route? EASY to LEARN, MEMORABLE (over forgettable), and evokes POSITIVE AROUSAL. Basically strong arguments are persuasive.
-What makes some communicators more effective than others?

Credibility is key. We are more likely to persuaded by more credible sources, like a science journal over a tabloid (even if they have the same news story). People must have two characteristics to be deemed credible:

1. Competence: refers to a speaker's ability. Those who are knowledgeable, smart, or well spoken or who have impressive credentials are persuasive by virtue of their expertise.
-Experts have a winning effect on us, we assume that they know what they're talking about, so we listen when they speak
-And when they take a position we often take the same position as them.
-Research shows people pay more attention to experts and examine their arguments more systematically.
-A non-expert source will be examined closer when they advocate for an opposing position
-A highly credible source who argues for a position we favor increases our confidence about our attitude towards that issue.
-Also, a highly credible source who advocates for an opposing position can pose a threat to our confidence and existing attitude about that thing.

2. Trustworthiness: the source must be willing to report their knowledge completely truthful.
-How do we base our trust on someone? Stereotypes play a role. A survey in the US found NURSES the most trustworthy occupation and Car salesman, members of Congress, and advertisers were least trustworthy.
-If people have something to gain from the persuasion beware of the source, we do suspect a degree of bias. Example: Celebrities with more endorsements were deemed less trustworthy to consumers
-People also are impressed by people taking unpopular stands or argue against their own self-interests.
-We are more influenced by overheard communication than by directly receiving a sales pitch intended for our own listening. When the communication is not directly intended to persuade our attitudes.
-OVERHEARD COMMUNICATOR: tricks used by advertisers in which the source appears to tell a buddy about a new product that works, as if we were eavesdropping on a personal conversation, we assume that the communication is more trustworthy. Also we are more likely to believe a crime suspect's admissions of guilty.
Forewarning and resistance: When people know that someone is trying to change their attitude, people become more likely to resist change. People who are given more time are more resistant than people given less time.
Freedman and Sears study were put on notice in 2 ways:
1. They were informed of the position the speaker would take. This is purely cognitive, knowing in advance the speaker's position gives us time to formulate counterarguments
2. They were told that the speaker intended to change their opinion.

7 attitude resistent strategies:
1. Attitude bolstering
2. counter arguing
3. social validation
4. negative affect
5. assertions of confidence
6. selective exposure
7. source derogation

Inoculation Hypothesis: Exposure to weak versions of a persuasive attempt/communication increases later resistance to that attempt/communication, like getting small doses of the flu when getting flu shots to fight against it.
-Can be used to combat the kinds of attack ads that sometimes win elections.
-Simply knowing that someone is trying to persuade us also sparks a motivational reaction as we embrace ourselves to resist the attempt regardless of what position we take.

Psychological Reactance: When people think that someone is trying to change their attitude or otherwise manipulate them, a red flag goes up. All of us want to think, feel, and act as we choose.
-When we feel those liberties are threatened, we become more motivated to maintain it.
-When we feel that freedom slipping away, we try to restore it.
-When a communicator comes on too strongly we may react with NEGATIVE ATTITUDE CHANGE by moving in the direction that is the opposite of the one being advocated - even when the speaker takes positions we agree with.

-Reactance can trigger resistance to persuasion 2 different ways:
1. When aroused, the person hearing the persuasive communication may simply shut down in a reflex-like way
2. Or when aroused disagree in a more proper manner by QUESTIONING THE CREDIBILITY of the SOURCE and having COUNTERARGUMENTS for their message

Wood and Quinn (2003) found that when people are:
-told about a future persuasive speech on a topic that is unimportant to them personally, they start to agree before hearing the message so they're not vulnerable to influence.
-Yet when people are forewarned about a persuasive message on a topic of personal importance, they feel threatened, create counter arguments to bolster their attitudes.
Cognitive Consistency: People are highly motivated for their belief's, attitudes, and behaviors to work well with each other

Cognitive Dissonance Theory, The Classic: Proposed by Festinger (1957). The powerful motivation to maintain one's cognitive consistency (similarity in beliefs, attitudes, behaviors) which can make that person act irrational, sometimes produce behaviors that are unsuitable for any situation.

-We all hold cognitions all about ourselves and all about our world including everything we know about our: BELIEFS, ATTITUDES, AND BEHAVIORS.
Example of cognitive dissonance: A person is on a diet and says they're going to be healthy but they just ate a whole pizza. (motivation to do something but the person acts against that motivation).

-When we KNOW we committed an attitude discrepant behavior we feel more cognitive dissonance
-When we ACCIDENTALLY committed an attitude discrepant behavior, we feel less/no dissonance (breaking your diet, but it's on thanksgiving day)

-Best way to reduce dissonance is to change you attitude so it lines up with your behavior.
-Ways to reduce cognitive dissonance: denying personal responsibility of the behavior, rationalizing that others in one's in-group are hypocrites, and minimize the discrepant behavior in question

1. Change your attitude. "I don't really need to be on a diet
2. Change how you recognize the behavior. "I hardly ate any ice cream."
3. Add compatible cognitions/thoughts to the discrepant behavior. "Chocolate ice cream is very nutritious for you."
4. Minimize the significance of the conflict. "I don't care if I'm fat. Life is short."
5. Reduce recognition of choice. "I had no choice, the ice cream was served for a special occasion."
-Insufficient Justification: When a person performs an attitude-discrepant without being compensated a justifiable amount to perform that disliked behavior.
Example: in festinger's study, participants were either given no money, $20, or $1 to tell the next group of participants who would take part in this study on whether it was fun or not.
Results: $20 and group with no money (control group) told the next groups that the task was boring. In the group with $1 they lied and hoaxed the next people into doing that task that wasn't fun because the $1 was not justifiable for their actions.

Two things happen:
1. when people act in ways that contradict their own attitudes, they can occasionally change those attitudes by themselves without being exposed to persuasive communication (self-persuasion) to see things differently. Example: white college students who wrote essays on increasing scholarships to black people, later reported more favorable attitudes towards black people.
2. Big rewards don't produce greater change in attitude. Example: The more money you give participants for their inconsistent behavior, the more justified they feel and the less likely they are to change their attitudes.

-Insufficient Deterrence: When people don't engage in a fun activity, even when the punishment is mild or severe. Example: Mild punishments, an insufficient deterrer made children show dislike for the toy they were not allowed to play with vs children who'd face a severe punishment
-Basically THE LESS SEVERE the threatened punishment, the GREATER the CHANGE IN ATTITUDE.
Vicarious Dissonance: when a person disagrees with someone in their group that person will feel discomfort and will change their attitudes so they're not discrepant. Also, when someone observes inconsistent behaviors from others they identify with, then their attitudes will adjust/change.
-Motivation to reduce dissonance can result in how it alters our perceptions of visual reality.

Joel Cooper and Russell Fazio's (1984) "New Look" at Cognitive Dissonance Theory: Under specific conditions will cognitive dissonance occur. There are 4 steps need for the AROUSAL and REDUCTION of DISSONANCE:

Step 1. The discrepant behavior performed creates UNWANTED NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES. Example: students were coaxed into unknowingly taking part in a painfully boring experiment.
-Arousal can cause dissonance to occur even when people's actions are consistent with their attitude

Step 2. Feeling PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for the unwanted negative outcomes. Two factors make up someone feeling personally responsible:
- FREEDOM of CHOICE, when people had no choice other than to act the only way they could there was no dissonance and no attitude changes. Example: If Festinger coerced (pressured) the participants into raving about the experiment, the participants would NOT feel the need to justify their behavior by changing their attitudes to be consistent.
-FORSEEABLE, the possible negative consequences of a person actions were predictable. When the outcome was not anticipated, no dissonance and no attitude change occurred. When the possible negative
consequence was predicable, then

Step 3. PHYSIOLOGICAL AROUSAL, when people freely chose an attitude-discrepant task they were the MOST aroused and felt the MOST uncomfortable vs people who were told to do the task.

Step 4. The person must make an ATTRIBUTION to the arousal that occurred prior.
-But if you believe some "EXTERNAL FACTOR" could have caused the dissonance, then attitude change won't occur nor will dissonance occur.

-Then attitude change occurs.
Behavioral Ethics: the study of how individuals behave when facing temptations to cheat, steal, plagiarize, commit fraud, lie, or otherwise behave unethically.

1. Focuses on unintentional lapses in ethics that can occur when good people don't pay enough attention and are not sufficiently watchful, causing "blind spots" in ethical judgement (occurs when fatigued, why we cheat on tests in the afternoon more than the morning).

2. Focuses on acts of intentional wrongdoing that people commit in order to serve their own self-interests. People seem to engage in unethical acts when the tangible benefits (monetary and other rewards) exceed the tangible costs (exposure and punishment).

Ethical Dissonance: Proposed by Barkan and colleagues (2012) behaving in ways that violate our own moral code threatens our self-esteem and arouses an inner state of turmoil.

-When we are tempted into the possibility of acting unethically, our MORAL self-concept is THREATENED both BEFORE and AFTER we do it

-To reduce (attenuate) this threat, we use self-serving justifications to cope with the anticipation and the experience of ethical dissonance

Ways in which people reduce their ethical dissonance: Citing social norms, blaming others or the situation, rationalizing the good from a misdeed, confessing, apologizing, and offering money/compensation, and distancing from the misdeed by creating stricter ethical standards for the future and judging other violators more harshly

-Form of self-justification that allows people to behave unethically, MORAL LICENSING, a tendency for individuals to justify expectable/future misdeeds by sharing good things they have done.
-when people establish moral license they: expect less ethical dissonance when taking part in an attitude-discrepant behaviors.