Behavior and Attitudes
Terms in this set (79)
Beliefs and feelings related to a person or an event
Emotional reactions to the attitude object
Thoughts and beliefs about the attitude object
Actions or observable behavior toward the attitude object
Allan Wicker 1969
A social psychologist who reviewed research studies and concluded that People's expressed attitudes hardly predicted their varying behaviors;
Example: student attitudes toward cheating bore little relation to the likelihood of their actually cheating. attitudes toward the church were only modesty linked with weekly worship attendance. many people say theyre upset when someone makes racist remarks, but when they hear racism they respond indifferently;
What's the reason that our behavior and our expressed attitudes differ?
Because both are subject to many other influences
When do our attitudes predict our behavior?
When the other influences on what we say and do are minimal, when the attitude is specific to the behavior, and when the attitude is potent;
Do implicit biases predict behavior?
Both explicit (self-report) and implicit attitudes help predict people's behaviors and judgements;
Thus, both together predict behavior better than either alone;
Brain centers for implicit reactions
The amygdala (center for threat perception) is active as we automatically evaluate social stimuli, therefore it's considered a brain center that produces automatic implicit reactions
Principle of aggregation
The effects of an attitude become more apparent when we look at a person's aggregate or average behavior
Implicit association test (IAT)
The most widely used attitude measure, which uses reaction times to measure how quickly people associate concepts
When do attitudes predict behavior?
When the measured attitude is directly pertinent to the situation;
Example: attitudes toward the general concept of "health fitness" poorly predict specific exercise and dietary practices, but an individual's attitudes about the costs and benefits of jogging are a fairly strong predictor of whether he/she jogs regularly
A way to induce people to focus on their inner convictions
Make them self aware (maybe by having them act in front of a mirror);
Making people self-aware promotes consistency between words and deeds
Forging strong attitudes through experience
The attitudes that best predict behavior are accessible (easily brought to mind) as well as stable;
When attitudes are forged by experience, not just by hearsay, they're more accessible, more enduring, and more likely to guide actions;
When behavior determines attitude
We come to believe in what we stand up for
A set of norms that defines how people in a given social position ought to behave
What does the word
Actions expected of those who occupy a particular social position
Would all people who did the Stanford prison experiment become sadistic?
No, behavior is a product of BOTH the individual person and the situation;
The prison study seemed to have attracted volunteers prone to aggressiveness
The deeper less of role-playing studies
It's not that we're powerless machines, but rather it concerns how what is unreal (an artificial role) can subtly morph into what is real;
In a new career (as teacher, soldier, etc.) we enact a role that shapes our attitudes;
When we act like those around us, we slightly change our former selves into being more like them;
What happens when people give spoken/written support to something they doubt
They often feel bad about their deceit, but also they begin to believe what they are saying (as long as they weren't coerced into saying it);
When there is no compelling external explanation for one's words, saying becomes believing
The more one harms another and adjusts their attitudes, the easier it becomes to do harm;
Conscience is corroded;
Actions and attitudes feed each other;
Do only harmful acts shape the self?
No, moral acts do too
Positive behavior fosters....
Liking for the person;
Example: doing a favor for someone, increases liking for the person helped
If moral action feeds moral attitudes, can you legislate moral action to indirectly affect heartfelt attitudes?
Yes, it's kind of like how mandatory seat belt use has produced more favorable seat belt attitudes;
It was what social scientists were going for to get the supreme court to desegregate schools
Assumes that for strategic reasons we express attitudes that make us appear consistent
Cognitive dissonance theory
Assumes that to reduce discomfort, we justify our actions to ourselves
Assumes that our actions are self-revealing: when uncertain about our feelings or beliefs, relook to our behavior, much as anyone else would;
No one wants to look foolishly inconsistent, so to avoid seeming so, we express attitudes that match our actions;
To appear consistent, we may automatically pretend those attitudes
Self-presentation theory weakness
There's more to attitudes than self-presentation, people express their changed attitudes even to someone who has no knowledge of their earlier behavior
Tension that arises when one is simultaneously aware of two inconsistent cognitions;
Example: dissonance may occur when we realize that we have, with little justification, acted contrary to our attitudes, or made a decision favoring one alternative despite reasons favoring another
Leon Festinger 1957
Cognitive dissonance theory
What did Festinger say we did when two of our beliefs were inconsistent
To reduce this unpleasant arousal, we often adjust our thinking
Cognitive dissonance theory offers an explanation for self-...
Insufficient justification principle & punishments
Children were more likely to internalize a request not to play with an attractive toy if they were given a MILD threat that insufficiently justified their compliance;
When given a severe threat (like clean up or you'll get spanked), they dont have to internally justify cleaning up, the severe threat is justification enough;
Mild threats & desired actions
Cognitive dissonance theory also focuses on what induces a desired action;
It aims to have the kid say they're cleaning their room because they want a clean room (mild threat) rather than they're cleaning their room so they dont get spanked;
Cognitive dissonance & inducing desired actions
Attitudes follow behaviors for which we feel some responsibility
After making important decisions, how do you reduce dissonance?
By upgrading the chosen alternative and downgrading the unchosen option
The acts we freely commit are self-...
Self perception theory
Assumes that we make inferences about our own behavior;
When our attitudes are weak or ambiguous, it's similar to someone observing us from the outside...hearing myself talk informs me of my attitudes, seeing my actions provides clues to how strong my beliefs are;
This is especially so when you cant easily attribute your behavior to external constraints;
The acts we freely commit are self-revealing;
Why do actions affect attitudes? (The three theories)
Self-presentation: impression management "i look like a cool smoker";
Self-justification: cognitive dissonance "i know smoking is bad for me. I've been waiting all day for this cig. oh well, the stats aren't as bad as they say & im healthy so i wont get sick";
Self-perception: self-observation "here i am smoking again. i must like smoking"
Evidence of self-perception effect
Experiments on the effects of facial expressions. When making angry faces, you'll feel angry. when smiling, you'll feel happy
When observing other's faces, postures, etc. we naturally/unconsciously mimic them & it helps us tune into what they're feeling;
Explains why it's fun to be around happy people and depressing to be around depressed people;
Why is "volunteering" to say/do undesirable things arousing?
Bc, as the self-affirmation theory suggests, such acts are embarrassing, threaten our sense of personal competence and goodness;
Justifying our actions and decisions is self-affirming: it protects and supports our sense of integrity and self-worth
Dissonance theory successfully explains...
What happens when we act contrary to clearly defined attitudes: we feel tension, so we adjust our attitudes to reduce it;
Dissonance theory explains
How does cognitive dissonance affect our need to justify our actions?
Our attitudes change because we are motivated to maintain consistency among our cognitions
Relationship between cognitive dissonance and self-esteem
4 ways to justify our actions:
1) change behavior
2) change cognitions
3) add new cognitions
4) bolster self-concept in another area
Overestimating the intensity and duration of their negative emotional reactions;
Example: overestimate how dreadful they will feel following a romantic breakup, loss of a job, etc.
Post-decision dissonance reduction
After you've made a decision, you'll feel dissonance regarding the possibility of it being wrong;
Often will change our perceptions to reduce this dissonance and make the decision seem more attractive
How to reduce post decision dissonance?
By enhancing the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and devaluating the rejected alternatives
How does the permanence of the decision affect post decision dissonance reduction?
The more important the decision, the greater the dissonance;
The more permanent and less revocable the decision, the stronger the need to reduce dissonance
Foot in the door phenomenon
Tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request
A tactic for getting people to agree to something;
People who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante;
People who receive only the costly request are less likely to comply with it
Self-esteem and dissonance
People with the highest self-esteem experience the most dissonance when they behave in ways that are contrary to their high opinion of themselves, and they'll work harder to reduce it than those with average levels of self-esteem;
Aronson and Mills & moral pyramid
People who have had a temporary blow to their self-esteem, and thus are feeling low and worthless, might be more likely to cheat at cards, kick their dog, or do anything consistent with having a low opinion of themselves
Once you make a decision, you're going to justify it to reduce dissonance, and that justification may later make it hard for you to change your mind..even when you should;
In the study the kids who had cheated became more lenient towards cheated, and those who had resisted the temptation to cheat adopted a harsher attitude;
Justification of effort
Tendency for individuals to increase their liking for something they have worked hard to attain
Stating an opinion or attitude that runs counter to one's private belief or attitude
a reason or explanation for dissonant personal behavior that resides outside the individual (in order to receive a large reward or avoid a severe punishment)
The reduction of dissonance by changing something about oneself
Counterattitudinal advocacy and white lies
If youre not getting enough external justification, you use internal justification to reduce the dissonance, so you end up more likely to lie if you're getting less out of it
Dissonance aroused when individuals lack sufficient external justification for having resisted a desired activity or object, usually resulting in individuals devaluing the forbidden acitivity or object
Insuffiecient punishment & behavior change
If there's insufficient punishment, then they don't have a convincing answer for why they're not going to, i.e. beat up their brother, and so they lack complete justification. This means that he continues to experience dissonance, so he has to find another way to justify the fact that's he's not beating up his brother;
External versus internal justification
Ben franklin effect
If you've done someone a personal favor you're more likely to feel more positively toward them than if you haven't done them a personal favor
An attitude that is consciously held and can be reported on by the person holding the attitude.
An attitude that influences a person's feelings and behavior at an unconscious level
Implicit association test;
Uses reaction times to measure people's automatic associations between attitude objects and evaluative words;
easier pairings and faster responses are taken to indicate stronger unconscious associations
Yale attitude change approach
The effectiveness of persuasive communications depends on who says what to whom;
Study of the conditions under which people are most likely to change their attitudes in response to persuasive messages;
Who (source of the communication)
What (Nature of the communication)
Whom (nature of the audience)
Elaboration likelihood model
A model explaining 2 ways that persuasive communications can cause attitude change: centrally and peripherally
Central route of persuasion
When people are motivated and able to think about an issues they are likely to do this;
Focusing on the arguments
Peripheral route to persuasion
If we're distracted, uninvolved, or just plain busy, we may not take the time to reflect on the message's content;
Rather than analyzing whether the arguments are compelling, we might follow this;
Focusing on cues that trigger automatic acceptance without much thinking;
Which route of persuasion relates more long-lasting attitude change?
Central route leads to more enduring change
Heuristic-Systematic model of persuasion
An explanation of the two ways in which persuasive communications can cause attitude change: either systematically processing the merits of the arguments or using mental shortcuts (heuristics)
What kind of arguments work best in eastern culture?
What kind arguments work best in western culture?
Exposing people to weak attacks upon their attitudes so that when stronger attacks come, they will have refutations available
We want to do what we're told not to do
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