Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Attitudes
• Any cognitive representation that summarizes our evaluations of an attitude object
• ABC’s of attitudes:
Attitude Formation
1. Classical conditioning: you come to associate things that occur together
2. Operant conditioning: the effects of reinforcement and punishment
3. Observational learning: the effects of watching a model on one’s behavior
Why Do Attitudes Form?
•Serve various functions
1. Ego-defensive: a protective function
2. Knowledge function: make sense of the world
3. Value-expressive function: express our true self, underlying values, and personality
4. Social-adjustive function: allows individuals to fit in with their various social groups
Attitudes Predicting Behavior
• Fishbein and Ajzen (1977)
• The primary cause of behavior is not necessarily the attitude one has toward the behavior, but
rather one’s intention to engage in that behavior
• Intention based on the subjective norms surrounding that behavior
• Explains simple behaviors
• What about behaviors that are not completely voluntary?
Theory of Planned Behavior
• Attitudes Predicting Behavior
• Addresses a person’s ability to get the resources, opportunities, and skills needed to perform the
• Extends theory of reasoned action by adding the component of a person’s perceived behavioral
– person’s perception of ease or difficulty
1. Spontaneous behavior
2. Role of habits
Other Factors
1. Time: the longer the time interval, the poorer the relationship
2. Self-awareness: Privately self-aware are more internally focussed; whereas, publicly selfaware tend to be more externally focussed
Froming, Walker, & Lopyan (1982)
Diener and Wallbom
• Ss asked to complete an anagram test indicative of IQ (test was bogus)
• Told to stop working after bell rang and left alone
• Mirror vs. No Mirror
• Would students cheat by working past the bell?
3. Attitude strength: Stronger attitudes have more influence on behavior
– Increase by providing more information
4. Personal involvement: Being personally involved in an issue influences behavior
• Sivacek & Crano (1982)
5. Direct Experience: Stronger attitudes
• Regan and Fazio (1977)
– Housing shortage at Cornell forced 1st year students to several weeks on cots in dormitory
– All students were upset with the housing situation and the administration
How Attitudes Are Changed
– Festinger (1957)
• When our attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors are inconsistent with one another
– For example, people smoke while believing that smoking causes illness
• Only important or self-relevant inconsistencies have the potential to arouse dissonance
– Actions that jeopardize moral integrity or threaten a positive view of the self
• Motivated to reduce this negative feeling
• 4 Processing Steps
• Aronson and Mills (1959)
• Ss volunteered to discuss the psychology of sex
• 3 conditions to joining:
– Read list of obscene words and graphic sexual encounters
– Read list of mildly sex-related words
– No initiation
Eliminating the “Sting” of Dissonance
• Self-Affirmation Theory
Affirm themselves in another area
Dissonance still exists
Enhanced self-esteem decreases the “sting” of dissonance
Hypocrisy and Attitude Change
• Aronson (1992)
– Carried out at a swimming pool in CA
– Ss induced to urge other people to take shorter showers during the drought in CA
OR not
– Ss reminded that they themselves had been wasteful in the past OR not
Alternative Routes to Self-Persuasion
• 1. Self-Perception Theory
• 2. Impression Management Theory
• 3. Self-Affirmation Theory
Theories of Self-Persuasion: Critical Comparisons
Elaboration Likelihood Model
• The probability of message elaboration
- Argument strength and quality
- Central route to persuasion
-Unmotivated tend to irrelevant cues
-Peripheral route to persuasion
Other Factors
• Persuader Attractiveness
• Speech Rate
• Credibility
• Sleeper effect
• Fear Appeals
Fear and Attitude Change
• Rogers Protection-Motivation theory
1. Dangers mentioned are serious
2. Dangers are quite probable
3. Advice effective
4. Perform the recommended action