Published on January 17, 2008
Attitudes: Attitudes Lecture contents: Lecture contents Definitions and conceptualisations of attitudes. Self-report measures. The Theory of Planned Behaviour. The Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion. Cognitive dissonance and self-persuasion. What is an attitude?: What is an attitude? ...a positive, negative, or mixed reaction to a person, object, or idea. Brehm et al. (2002, p. 179) ...a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour. Eagly & Chaiken (1993, p. 1) Affect and Attitudes: Affect and Attitudes Single-component conceptualisations of attitudes equate them with dispositional affective responses. Tricomponent conceptualisations of attitudes employ the ABC model of attitudes: Affect, plus Behavioural tendency, plus Cognitions about likely consequences of behaviour. Self-report attitude measures: Self-report attitude measures Pros and cons direct and straightforward (+) lends itself to (cheap) mass testing (+) attitudes not always salient or accessible (-) may simplify complex representations (+/-) reports easily affected by many extraneous factors (-) Improving self-report measures Learning from research! Using the bogus pipeline procedure. Using attitude scales. Self-report measures: Attitude scales: Self-report measures: Attitude scales Use a series of questions to ask about the same ‘construct’. Lessens some of the above problems but does not avoid all problems. Likert (or ‘Likert-like’) scales are the most commonly used. Bipolar, ordinal response options anchored by ‘opposites’ e.g., 1 = totally agree, 9 = totally disagree Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behaviour: Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behaviour The theory that attitudes toward a specific behaviour (or a class of behaviours) combine with subjective norms and perceived control to influence a person’s actions. Acknowledges complexity of attitude-behaviour link. Postulates an attitude - intention - behaviour sequence. Acknowledges the potential influence of social expectations on behaviour. Acknowledges the potential influence of internal constraints on behaviour. Slide8: Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior Petty & Cacioppo’s (1986) elaboration likelihood (dual-process) model of persuasion (ELM): Petty & Cacioppo’s (1986) elaboration likelihood (dual-process) model of persuasion (ELM) Attitude change can follow a central route or a peripheral route. The central route Concerns message content. Persuasion via the central route occurs when we think critically about a message and are swayed by the strength and quality of its arguments. The peripheral route Concerns non-content cues. Persuasion via the peripheral route occurs when we do not do much thinking but are swayed by employing heuristics on the basis of non-content cues. Choosing the central route: Thinking: Choosing the central route: Thinking Ability Intelligence ‘Access’ Receptive Attention Motivation Involvement Absence of these leads to peripheral route ‘reacting’ Cf. Automatic and controlled attributions, evaluations, etc. Slide11: Petty & Cacioppo’s (1986) dual-process model of persuasion Communicator credibility: Communicator credibility Credibility is affected by perceived: Competence Expertise Knowledge Trustworthiness Impartiality Astuteness Each of the above can be ‘genuine’ or ‘manipulated’ E.g., An eminent physicist may know squat about irons. …or ‘implied’ (validly or otherwise) Slide13: Petty et al. (1981) Source vs. message effects The sleeper effect: The sleeper effect Hovland & Weiss (1959) The sleeper effect. Discounting cue hypothesis. But see next slide. Slide15: Kelman & Hovland (1953) The sleeper effect and how to eradicate it Festinger’s ‘classic’ cognitive dissonance theory: Festinger’s ‘classic’ cognitive dissonance theory Cognitive inconsistency results in dissonance. E.g., from freely performed attitude-discrepant behaviour. Dissonance is aversive and motivating. The easiest form of dissonance reduction will be taken. Dissonance may be reduced directly or indirectly. Slide17: 5 Ways to Reduce Dissonance “I want a good degree” BUT "I got a bad grade” Three research domains examined here: Three research domains examined here Justifying attitude discrepant behaviour. Justifying effort. Justifying decision-making. Slide19: Festinger & Carlsmith (1959) Justifying attitude-discrepant behaviour Justifying attitude-discrepant behaviour: Justifying attitude-discrepant behaviour Insufficient justification. Festinger & Carlsmith (1959) Leippe & Eisenstadt (1994) Insufficient deterrence. Aronson & Carlsmith (1963) Hypocrisy paradigm. Stone et al. (1994) Dickerson et al. (1992) Justifying effort: Justifying effort Voluntarily undertaking qualification seemingly too arduous or unpleasant for the prize obtained leads to dissonance. This dissonance may be reduced by cognitively downplaying the qualification and/or enhancing the attractiveness of the prize. Seminal paper is Aronson & Mills (1959). Justifying decision-making: Justifying decision-making Many free choices incur some negative consequences and/or knowingly forgo some positive ones. Both of these cognitions may lead to dissonance. Dissonance may be reduced, respectively, by: re-evaluating the accepted negative characteristics more positively, re-evaluating the knowingly foregone positive ones more negatively. Seminal paper is Brehm (1965). Bem’s alternative to cognitive dissonance theory: Bem’s alternative to cognitive dissonance theory Bem’s (1972) self-perception theory holds that we can base our attitudes on our acts without experiencing dissonance. To the extent that people’s internal states are weak or difficult to interpret and they believe their behaviour to be unconstrained, then people will infer their attitudes from their behaviour. Bem (1967) No need for postulation of ‘dissonance’. Fazio et al. (1977) Dissonance when attitude-behaviour discrepancy distinct, self-perception when indistinct.