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Chapter 4 Notes

by: Danielle Jones

Chapter 4 Notes PY 372

Danielle Jones
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

Chapter covers attitudes and behavior, and how they predict and affect each other. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, you can email me!
Social Psychology
William Peter Hart
Class Notes
#Attitude, behavior
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Danielle Jones on Saturday September 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PY 372 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by William Peter Hart in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Psychology at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 09/17/16
Chapter 4  Attitudes  A judgment of liking or disliking an entity (person, object, event, etc.) that is represented in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors toward that entity  3 parts of attitude ˗ Affect: feelings ˗ Behavior: multidirectional; attitude influences behavior and behavior determines attitude ˗ Cognition (thoughts): beliefs about an entity that can form your attitude  Functions  We form attitudes for a number of reasons  Self-knowledge function: you want to know yourself  Utilitarian (instrumental) function: attitude important for survival ˗ A good attitude about something means that that thing is okay/safe to approach, but a bad attitude suggest that that thing is unsafe  Ego-defensive function: attitude necessary to feel good or better about yourself ˗ Allows us to denigrate what (skills, materials) we don’t have and uplift what we do ˗ Also helps people get along and fit in other people  Value-expressive function: allows us to express our values or attitudes to others  Social adjustive function: changing our attitudes to fit in ˗ People like us more when we agree with them ˗ Change is often not permanent  Do attitudes predict behavior  Do people behave one way and believe another?  92% of Americans believe pollution is a moderate or very serious threat, yet fewer than 50% do anything beyond recycling bottles or cans  Surveys find that Americans value honesty, yeT 91% admit to lying regularly  Why don’t attitudes predict behavior better ˗ Sometimes our attitudes can be overshadowed by social considerations, like norms ˗ You don’t act the way you want to because you’re worried about how others will react ˗ Ex: hyper-aggressive people often say they actually don’t like fighting but do it because they feel like they have to ˗ Theory of reasoned action (Ajzen & Fishbein) ˗ there are 3 main predictors of behavior ˗ Personal attitudes toward the behavior ˗ Subjective norms and wanting to make a good impression ˗ Both of these result in people making a behavioral intention to do or not to do something ˗ Your behavioral intention is the best predictor of behavior ˗ Sometimes people lie about attitudes ˗ Especially on surveys ˗ People will try to hide what they think is negative about themselves ˗ Attitudes will accurately predict behavior when we assess a “true” attitude ˗ Sometimes people forget their attitudes because they become overwhelmed with other urges ˗ When people focus their attitudes during an action, they’re more likely to act in line with their attitudes ˗ Make people privately reflective ˗ Sometimes attitudes are weak and not held with passion ˗ Weak attitudes don’t really predict behavior ˗ When attitudes are formed by active experience and personally relevant, they can predict behavior ˗ People’s attitudes often contain both positive and negative info ˗ mixed reviews (or ambivalent attitudes) are poor predictors of behavior ˗ when the cognitive and affective components of attitude match behavior can be predicted ˗ ex: attitude towards a love interest ˗ cognitive: is he right for me? ˗ affective: am I attracted to him? ˗ Behavior: do I date him? ˗ When then the cognitive and affective don’t match, it can be hard to decide how to act (behave). But when they do, attitude can easily predict behavior ˗ Researchers need to consider the concreteness of the attitude measure in relation to what they are measuring ˗ Attitudes and behaviors must be measured at the same specificity ˗ Action, target, context ˗ Ex: a (positive or negative) attitude toward religion is broad and might not predict something specific like church attendance this Sunday ˗ Just because a person has a positive attitude about religion doesn’t mean that they will attend church that Sunday or at all  When Behavior Affects Attitude  The foot-in-the-door effect: tendency for people who have complied with a small request to be more willing to comply with a larger request later ˗ Ex: “Ugly Sign” study ˗ When asked to put an ugly sign about driving safely in their yard, only 7% of them agreed ˗ But when researcher first asked people if they would put a small sign in their window, and then asked later on if they would put the ugly sign in their yard, 67% agreed  Low ball tendency: tendency to comply with a large, unexpected request after having committed to an earlier request ˗ You feel like you already committed to the request ˗ Similar to foot-in-the-door effect, but you’re dealing with same request ˗ ex: you ask your dad for $10 and he complies. You then ask him instead for $20 and he still complies.  Consistency Theories  Cognitive dissonance theory: people have a need to avoid inconsistency in their thoughts, feelings, and behavior ˗ People like structure, and dissonance challenges that and implies unpredictability ˗ Dissonance is uncomfortable and unsettling ˗ People are motivated to relieve their dissonance ˗ In order to relieve the tension, we have to either change our attitude or our behavior ˗ Ex: people who smoke tobacco have to cope with the dissonance of 3 cognitions ˗ Smoking is unhealthy ˗ I want to be healthy ˗ I smoke ˗ May change cognitions to ˗ Smoking is unhealthy… but so are other things people consume regularly ˗ I want to be healthy… but a cigarette every now and then isn’t terrible ˗ I smoke… but I also run every day, so it reduces the damage ˗ Ways to reduce dissonance: ˗ Change your cognitions. ˗ Add new cognitions. ˗ Change the importance of relevant cognitions  Post-decisional dissonance: A state of psychological dissonance that often occurs after making an important decision ˗ When does post-decisional dissonance occur? ˗ Important decisions arouse more dissonance than unimportant ones ˗ The more equal the attractiveness of the alternatives, the more difficult the decision ˗ The less similar the alternatives, the more dissonance will be aroused ˗ Alleviate dissonance by convincing yourself that the decision you made was actually a good one and inherently better than the alternative  Self-Presentation Theory: the need to maintain a desired self-image ˗ We want to appear consistent to others in our attitudes and behaviors ˗ We don’t want to appear hypocritical, uncertain, or untrustworthy  Self-Affirmation Theory: the need to assert our own self- adequacy ˗ Because inconsistency makes us feel foolish, we seek consistency ˗ Theory states that people don’t really have a need for consistency, but restoring self-image eliminates need to change attitude ˗ Different from dissonance theory because dissonance states that we are inherently disturbed by inconsistency and must go and resolve it. Self- affirmation is about what inconsistency implies ˗ Difference between self-affirmation and self-presentation is that self- affirmation is more about internal feelings about yourself, and self- presentation is about how you’re presenting to others and how others see you  We simply infer our attitudes from our behavior ˗ Just as we infer others’ attitudes by perceiving their behavior ˗ This happens when attitudes aren’t very clear to begin with or aren’t very potent ˗ Self-perception Theory: (Bem, 1972) - Primarily a theory of attitude formation  Think About It  These were basically discussion question and Dr. Hart just asked for opinions from the class. He did give some information about the topics and that’s what I actually included  Professional athletes sometimes report “losing the love”, why is this? ˗ Because they eventually start doing it because they’re getting paid ˗ No longer seems like a hobby ˗ Getting paid for something interferes with intrinsic enjoyment of the activity ˗ Having to do some something makes people not want to do it ˗ Think mandatory activities—being forced to do something, even if it’s something you may usually enjoy, makes you not want to do  If you ran a class, would you have an attendance policy? Why or why not? ˗ Attendance policies may have a place and instructors may have a good reason for having them ˗ But from the perspective of self-perception theory, how might attendance policies affect students’ attitudes towards attending class or the subject matter ˗ Make students question why they are actually in class—they’re not they because they actually enjoy the class but because they have to be or they’re being rewarded


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