chapter 5 attitudes and attitude change. attitudes attitudes are evaluative responses to stimuli

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  • Slide 1
  • Chapter 5 Attitudes and Attitude Change
  • Slide 2
  • Attitudes Attitudes are evaluative responses to stimuli
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  • Attitudes They are based on ABC information affective component the persons emotions and affect towards the object behavioral component how person tends to act towards the object cognitive component consists of thoughts and beliefs the person has about the object These are not always highly related to each other.
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  • Attitudes Attitudes are often cognitively complex but evaluatively simple. Attitudes make it possible to access related information and to make decisions quickly. Attitudes are one determinant of behavior but not the only one; conversely behavior also determines attitudes.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Learning Approach Consistency Approach Expectancy-Value Approach Cognitive Approach
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  • Theories of Attitudes The learning approach Yale Attitude Change program (Hovland et al., 1950s) Attitudes are acquired in the same way as other habits: association reinforcement and punishment imitation.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Transfer of affect involves transferring emotions from one object (e.g., a sexy model) to another (e.g., the car the model is standing by).
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  • Theories of Attitudes Evaluation of Learning Approach: The learning approach views people as passive recipients of external forces. Message learning is critical to this perspective but memory is uncorrelated with attitude change. This model appears to work well when people are unfamiliar with the material.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Cognitive consistency approaches depict people as striving for coherence and meaning in their cognitions.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Heiders balance theory considers the consistency between evaluations in a simple system the mutual evaluations of two people towards each other, and of each towards an attitude object.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Balance among such a system exists when all evaluations are positive, or when one is positive and two are negative. Imbalance exists when one, or all three, evaluations are negative. Imbalanced systems are unstable, and the system will tend to change into a balanced one, generally by changing as few elements as possible.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Evaluation of Balance Theory Research generally supports predictions. However, balance pressures are much weaker when we dislike a person than when we like him or her.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) is concerned with discrepancies between people s attitudes and their behaviors. Dissonance is an aversive motivational state that results when our behavior is inconsistent with our attitudes It is greatest when the attitudes and behavior are important to the self. Dissonance creates psychological tension that people are motivated to reduce.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Three ways of reducing dissonance changing our behavior (often difficult) trivializing the dissonance changing the attitude.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Decision making usually arouses dissonance that is resolved by increasing liking for the chosen alternative and decreasing liking for the non-chosen alternative.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Brehm (1956) had students rank several common products and were then given a choice of what to keep between two. High dissonance condition: choice between two closely ranked alternatives Low dissonance condition: choice between a high- ranked and a low-ranked alternative No-dissonance condition: students were simply given a product. When asked to re-rate their preferences, only students in the high dissonance condition increased their rating for the product they had been given.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Dissonance can occur when we commit ourselves to a single course of action. Festinger and his colleagues documented the behavior of members of a doomsday cult. When the world failed to end as had been predicted, cult members claimed that their faith had helped save the world and began active recruiting. Finding additional supporters helped justify their original behavior.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Attitude-discrepant behavior (counter-attitudinal behavior) also induces dissonance, which is typically relieved by changing the attitude (since behaviors are difficult to undo.)
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  • Theories of Attitudes Insufficient Justification The less incentive one has for performing a counterattitudinal behavior, the more dissonance is experienced.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Factors increasing dissonance for performing counterattitudinal behavior Small threat of punishment Behavior is freely chosen There is an irrevocable commitment Negative consequences were foreseeable Person feels responsible for consequences Effort is expended
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  • Theories of Attitudes Bems self-perception theory argues that we infer our attitudes from our behavior and the circumstances in which this behavior occurs.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Self-perception theory and cognitive dissonance theory make similar predictions but for different reasons. Both theories may be correct: Self-perception theory seems more applicable when people are unfamiliar with the issues or the issues are vague, minor, or uninvolving Cognitive dissonance theory seems more applicable to explaining peoples behavior concerning controversial, engaging, and enduring issues.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Consistency seems to be a more important concern in Western cultures than elsewhere.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Expectancy-value theory assumes that people develop an attitude based on their thoughtful assessment of pros and cons: Subjective Utility = Expectancy x Value Expectancy-value theory treats people as calculating, active, rational decision-makers.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Dual Processing Theories People process a message systematically when they have both the motivation and the ability to do so; when they do not have the motivation or the ability, they process messages heuristically.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Cognitive response theory seeks to understand attitude change by understanding the thoughts (cognitive responses) people produce in response to persuasive communications. This theory assumes that people are active processors of information and generate cognitive responses to messages.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Attitude change depends on how much and what kind of counter- arguing a message triggers. Persuasion can be induced by interfering with a persons ability to counter-argue.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Petty and Cacioppos elaboration likelihood model draws a key distinction The central route to persuasion involves detailed information processing and evaluation of arguments The peripheral route to persuasion involves reliance on superficial cues without thoughtful consideration of the arguments.
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  • Theories of Attitudes People use the central route when they are involved in the issue concerned about accuracy aware that others are trying to change their attitudes. People are more likely to use the peripheral route when they are uninvolved in the issue distracted by the source or context overloaded with other things to do.
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  • Theories of Attitudes Chaiken has similarly distinguished systematic processing (careful review and consideration of arguments) from heuristic processing (using simple decision rules). However, systematic processing does not always give the right answer; defensive motivations can lead to processing that is extremely biased.
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  • Persuasion The more favorably people evaluate the communicator, the more favorably they are apt to evaluate the communication. This idea reflects transfer of affect.
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  • Persuasion Several aspects of a communicator affect whether he or she is evaluated favorably. Credibility Expertise Trustworthiness Liking
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  • Persuasion We are persuaded by the opinions of our reference groups, those we like or identify with. This occurs both because of the motivational factors of liking and perceived similarity, and because messages from in-groups are more likely to be processed using the central route.
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  • Persuasion Source derogation involves deciding the source is unreliable or negative in some way. It can make all future as well as current arguments from that source less powerful.
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  • Persuasion The message content clearly influences whether or not people will accept it.
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  • Persuasion The greater the discrepancy between the listeners position and the message presented, the greater the potential for change. Discrepancy Attitude Change
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  • Persuasion Sources who are more credible can advocate more disc


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