Attitude Assessment and Change Amber Beach, Marielly Mitchell, & Kristin Palmer Psyc. 515 Video Clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV3h6aQ wmNs Attitude Assessment Researchers have shown considerable interest in… – What attitudes people hold toward environmental issues? – What factors determine those attitude? – How attitudes relate to behaviors? Questionnaire instruments for assessing people’s attitudes towards environment include: – – – – Environment Response Inventory New Environmental Paradigm Scale Environmental Concern Scale Environmental Appraisal Inventory Attitude Assessment Fridgen’s Environmental Appraisal Inventory (expanded) – 28 environmental hazards classified… 1) origin of hazard (nature-technology), 2) range of influence (global-local), and 3) length of impact (longshort) Personal responsibility rated on 7-point Likert scale – No responsibility, through moderate, to extreme responsibility Connections Perceive selves as immune to effects of most environmental threats Little responsibility (or ability to control) threats Although varied considerably in being held responsible for environmental problems, majority of Americans consider themselves “environmentalists” and “concerned about the environment” Attitudes toward environmental problem are influenced by degree they identify positively with cause – i.e. Employees of a factory vs. those not in factory Relationships between environmental attitudes and sociodemographic variables – Age – Race – Gender “Different people an react differently to the same environment” Stern’s 4 types of environmental concern – Ecological Concern Maintaining balance of nature as an end in itself – Anthropocentric Altruism Based on concern for people and on loss of environmental quality – Egotistic Concern Implications of environmental change for one’s own well-being or kin – Religious or Ideological Concern Rooted in religious or cultural values > one can be operating at one time People who scored higher on egocentrism were less likely to express apathy toward environmental issues and more likely to conserve and join environmental organizations Beliefs and Attitudes as Determinants of Behaviors Background covered. People tend to behave in ways that are consistent with their beliefs and attitudes – Focus of attention for psychologists for many years Degree to which behavior is influenced by cognitive variables as attitudes, beliefs, values, and knowledge is much more limited in some contexts than others – i.e. environmental damage has been more severe in some cultures -prominent religions Strength depends on strength of barriers of action that exist – i.e. stronger barrier = lower proenvironmental attitude = low/no proenvironmetal behavior Emotions, intentions, & personal value systems Effecting Changes in Attitudes Symbolically or instrumentally believers (unrealistic and less motivating thoughts) are more likely to see the problem of environmental change as fiction Solution: convenience people of seriousness of problem – Public service announcements – Highlight “antilittering” not “oh, it’s just a common behavior” when you see someone toss trash out a car window Highly visible and publicized manifestations of negative environmental effects, NOT the public concern drive change. – Kempton, Darley, & Stern (1992) analogy: “ It was not abstract recognition of possible fuel shortages that caused the energy crisis of 1973-74… Televised images of long lines at gas pumps were the visible manifestations of shortages.” So… Make environmental damage “DRAMATICALLY VISIBLE” Convince individuals that their PERSONAL BEHAVIOR MATTERS – Erase: the “nothing-I-personally-do-matters” false assumption Importance of LITTLE THINGS – i.e. Milk cartons: there is almost 2x as much material in 2 one-qt. cartons, and it takes about the same energy to produce a two- qt. or gallon milk container Tragedy of Commons – Substantial personal benefit at little personal cost Critiques Some studies unable to be replicated Questionnaires – almost impossible to tell whether answers reflect genuine attitudes or simply what respondents believe to be socially correct Problem: environmental quality – Perception is complicated because how people perceive and respond to specific aspects of an environment depends on what they’re accustomed to or what they consider normal i.e. People living in smog are less sensitive to pollution Some studies don’t provide evidence, but just suggest possible causal links Discussion Questions References Nickerson, R. S. (2003). Psychology and environmental change. Bedford, MA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.