Chapter 7 - Attitudes
Chapter 7 - Attitudes PSYC 2130
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Stewart on Wednesday February 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 2130 at University of North Carolina - Charlotte taught by Kathleen Burke in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 28 views. For similar materials see Intro to Social Psychology in Psychlogy at University of North Carolina - Charlotte.
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Date Created: 02/24/16
2/24/16 - 3/2/16 Social Psychology Class Notes Chapter 7 - Attitudes Objectives: 1. What’s an Attitude? 4. Origins of Attitudes 2. Properties of Attitudes 5. Functions a. Knowledge • Valence, Extremity, Strength 3. Measuring Attitudes b. Value-Expression • Direct vs. Indirect Measures c. Utilitarian 1. What’s an Attitude? • Attitude – evaluations of people, objects and ideas o Does not mean someone’s mood or disposition o Does mean how mush we like or dislike something § Examples: • I like Mexican food and Jazzercise • I dislike olives and waiting in line o Positive to negative o Can also be neutral or mixed § Example: I love vacationing at the beach but I don’t like that there is a possibility of getting a jelly fish sting • Three components (ABCs) o Affect o Behavior o Cognitive • Attitudes are NOT: o General life outlooks § “he has such a great attitude about everything!” o Being sassy or difficult § “Oh, she dishes out a TON of attitude!” o Attitudes are not the same as opinions § “In my opinion, free speech is good” describes a positive attitude towards freedom of speech § “in my opinion, you should quit smoking” probably indicates a negative attitude toward smoking, but is not quite the same as saying “smoking is bad” • Attitude Structure: • Tripartite Model of Attitudes: 2/24/16 - 3/2/16 Social Psychology Class Notes • Affective Component - emotional reaction (“feelings,” “gut reaction”) • Behavioral Component - Actions • Cognitive component – thoughts and beliefs • Example: o Attitude object: Chocolate cake o Affective: “I like it! It makes me happy!” (+) o Behavioral: “I buy it! I eat it!” (+) o Cognitive: “It’s a source of energy” (+) “but its also fattening” (-) o The overall attitude or “summary of evaluation” is positive o “ I like cake, but I don’t like it as much as I would if it were nutritious” 2. Properties of Attitudes • Valence – positive or negative (like or dislike) o The direction or sign of your attitude o Examples: I like UNCC football or I don’t Michigan State football o Ambivalence - Both positive and negative thoughts § Example: I am ambivalent towards The Jersey Shore TV show. I cant stand the people in it but it’s a guilty pleasure in seeing how crazy their lives are • Extremity – How positive or negative (how much? Like a little or like a lot?) o How extreme (to one side or the other) is the attitude? o Independent of valence o Example: How much do you like ice cream? • Strength – does the attitude last overtime? Does it resist persuasion attempts? Does it predict behavior? o More than just extremity o When attitudes are strong: § Resistant to change § Persistent over time § Impact information processing and judgments § Predict behavior • Example: We may have positive and/or negative reactions to an attitude object o Positive attitude: I like _____ o Negative attitude: I dislike _____ o Ambivalent attitude: I both like and dislike _____ o Indifference: I do not care (neither like or dislike) 3. Measuring Attitudes • Explicit attitudes – evaluations that people are aware of and can report consciously 2/24/16 - 3/2/16 Social Psychology Class Notes o Consciously endorsed o Easily reported o Measured directly o Example: I hate Chipotle • Implicit attitudes – automatic evaluative responses to a target that can occur without awareness and cannot be controlled o Involuntary o Sometimes unconscious o Uncontrollable o Measured indirectly o Example: racial prejudice, homophobia • Explicit and Implicit attitudes are often consistent, but they can disagree • Direct Measures o Likert scales § “How much do you like _____?” • 1 = not at all; 7= A lot § Potential problems: • Issues with question wording • Limited understanding and responses • Are people honest? o Semantic differentials § Similar to a likert scale but bounded on both sides § Please use the following scale to indicate how you feel about senior comprehensive exams: • 1=bad/foolish • 7=good/wise § Potential Problems: • Still limited • May not really tap into our real feelings • Has to be designed well • Indirect Measures o Physiological measures § Facial EMG – measuring muscle contractions § EEG – measuring neuronal firing § Potential Problems: • Really expensive (time and money) • Do you think it measures attitudes? o Nonverbal behavior § Eye contact, Facial expressions (not muscles), and Seating distance § Potential Problems: • Doesn’t necessarily reflect our explicit attitudes • Can be difficult to measure/control in an experiment o “Implicit” measures - IAT § Attempts to measure the association between two concepts in a person’s mind 2/24/16 - 3/2/16 Social Psychology Class Notes § Has applied to attitude research by having one of the concepts positive or negative words (‘good’ vs. ‘bad’) • Examples: o Black/white faces paired with good/bad words o heterosexual/homosexual couples paired with good/bad words § Based on the idea that categorizing objects together that are mentally associated is easier than when they are not associated § If you want to take the IAT online: http://www.understandingprejudice.org/iat • Extra credit if you do before spring break 4. Origins of Attitudes • Learning (Hovland) o Attitudes form when people encounter information that can be positively or negatively evaluated o Example: ‘I learn a candidate committed fraud’ or ‘I find out chocolate is good for me’ • Mere exposure (Zajonc) o Repeated exposure leads to positive attitudes o Works better with subconscious exposure § Example: catchy songs on the radio o Conscious exposures – increased liking with increased exposure initially, but eventually repetition causes annoyance and decreased liking (picture ->) • Conditioning - associating some attitude object with something that is already liked or disliked o Used in advertising all the time (sexy ads and celebrity endorsements) o Positive association o Negative prime • Genetic predispositions o Twin studies 5. Functions • Knowledge – organizing and interpreting information (‘I like these things, but not those things') o Attitudes can bias how we interpret messages o Decision making (‘I like salad, so Ill eat some) • Value-expression – attitudes allow us to express important values or beliefs o Example: If I believe eating animals is immoral, my negative attitude towards steak is one expression of this belief • Utilitarian - attitudes may help us maximize rewards, minimize punishment o I like things . . . if they help me meet my needs o Example: whether or not you like football may depend on whether it is useful to like it
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