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Chapter 6 Attitudes Chapter Outline The Nature of Attitudes Attitude Organization Cognitive Consistency The Relationship Between Attitudes and Behavior The Reasoned ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Attitudes

Chapter 6
  • Attitudes

Chapter Outline
  • The Nature of Attitudes
  • Attitude Organization
  • Cognitive Consistency
  • The Relationship Between Attitudes and Behavior
  • The Reasoned Action Model

  • A predisposition to respond to a particular
    object in a favorable or unfavorable way.
  • A persons attitudes influence the way in which
    he or she perceives and responds to the world.

Three Components of Attitude
  1. Beliefs or cognitions - An object label, rules to
    apply the label, and a set of cognitions
    associated with that label.
  2. Evaluation - A direction (positive or negative)
    and an intensity (very weak to very strong).
  3. Behavioral predisposition - A predisposition to
    respond or a behavioral tendency toward the

Functions of Attitude
  • Heuristic or instrumental function
  • Attitudes provide a simple and efficient means of
    evaluating objects.
  • Schematic or knowledge function
  • Attitudes about a category provide us with a
    basis for making inferences about its members.

Attitude Organization
  • Attitudes are usually embedded in a cognitive
    structure, linked with other attitudes.
  • Two types of structures
  • Vertical structures signify that a minor belief
    is derived from or dependent on a primitive
  • Horizontal structures exist when an attitude is
    linked to more than one set of underlying beliefs.

The Structure of Attitudes
Cognitive Consistency
  • The elements of a cognitive structure are called
  • A cognition is an individuals perception of
    personal attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • Consistency among a persons cognitions (beliefs
    and attitudes) is widespread.

Balance Theory
  • Two types of relationships may exist between
  • Sentiment relations - evaluations directed toward
    objects and people
  • Unit relations - the association between elements.

Balance Theory
  • Balance theory assumes that people will try to
    restore balance among their attitudes.
  • An imbalanced state is one in which two of the
    relationships between elements are positive and
    one is negative or in which all three are

Balanced Cognitive Systems Resolution of
Imbalanced Systems
Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
  • Dissonance theory deals with consistency between
    behaviors and attitudes.
  • There are two common situations in which
    dissonance occurs
  • After a decision.
  • When one acts in a way that is inconsistent with
    their beliefs.

Postdecisional Dissonance
The Dissonance Effect
  • The greater the reward or incentive for engaging
    in counter attitudinal behavior, the less the
    resulting attitude change.
  • This is because there is no need to change your
    attitude the negates the dissonance.
  • Conversely, the lesser the reward the greater the
    attitude change since you have a reason to
    alleviate the dissonance of saying the boring
    task was fun.

The Incentive Effect
  • The greater the incentive for engaging in counter
    attitudinal behavior, the greater the resulting
    attitude change.

Which is Going to Occur?
  • Dissonance is more likely when
  • People choose (or think they choose) whether or
    not to engage in the behavior.
  • Only occurs in some situations
  • A person must be committed to a belief or course
    of action
  • Person must believe he or she acted voluntarily
    and is thus responsible for the outcome of the

Relationship Between Attitudes and Behavior
  • Four variables
  • The activation of the attitude.
  • The characteristics of the attitude.
  • The correspondence between attitude and behavior.
  • Situational constraints on behavior.

Is consistency Inevitable?
  • Many of our cognitions never come into contact
    with each other
  • Another reason for inconsistency is some of our
    behavior is mindless (e.g. smoking)
  • Third reason inconsistency occurs is each belief,
    attitude, or self-perception is embedded in a
    larger structure of consistent, related
    attitudes, beliefs, and self-perceptions.
  • People vary in the strength of their preference
    for consistency.

Activation of the Attitude
  • When an attitude is activated, it is brought from
    memory into conscious awareness.
  • An attitude is usually activated by exposure of
    the person to its object, particularly if the
    attitude was originally formed through direct
    experience with the object (e.g. a stereotype).
  • The more accessible an attitude is, the greater
    its influence on categorizing and judging
  • More accessible ? more likely to guide future

Characteristics of the Attitude
  • 1) Affective-Cognitive Consistency -
  • The greater the consistency between cognition
    and evaluation, the greater the strength of the
    attitude-behavior relation.
  • E.g. capital punishment is necessary to protect
    society is consistent with I support capital

Do attitudes predict behavior?
  • 2) Direct Experience
  • Attitudes based on direct experience are more
    predictive of subsequent behavior.
  • Best predictor of future behavior is past
  • An attitude is a summary of a persons past
  • The greater the strength of an attitude the
    greater its effect on behavior. E.g. vote for
  • The relevance of an attitude the extent to which
    the issue or object directly affects the
    personis important for its strength
  • Time? The longer the time between measurement of
    the attitude and that of behavior the more likely
    the attitude will change

3) Attitude-Behavior Correspondence
  • Attitudes are more likely to predict behavior
    when the two are at the same level of specificity
  • Italian, probably likes Italian food, but green
    noodles with clam sauce? Not so much
  • The greater the degree of correspondence, that
    is, the number of elements that are the same in
    the two measures, the better we can predict
    behavior from attitudes. (e.g. an action
    (eating), an object or target (green noodles and
    red clam sauce), a context (in your home), and a
    time (tomorrow night)

Attitude-Behavior Correspondence
  • Every behavior involves a target, action,
    context, and time.
  • In order to predict behavior from attitude, the
    measures of attitude and behavior should involve
    the same elements.
  • The larger the number of elements in common, the
    greater the correlation between attitude and

Correlations of Attitude Measures that Vary in
Correspondence with Behavior
  • Researchers these measures of attitudes toward
    birth control from 244 women
  • general attitude toward birth control
  • attitude toward birth control pills
  • attitude toward using pills
  • attitude toward using pills in the next 2 years.
  • The behavioral measure was actual use of pills
    during the 2-year period.
  • As correspondence increased from 0 to 3 elements,
    correlation between attitude and behavior

Correlations of Attitude Measures that Vary in
Correspondence with Behavior
The Influence of Attitude and Situational
Constraints on Behavior
Situational Constraint
  • Refers to an influence on behavior due to the
    likelihood that other persons will learn about
    the behavior and respond positively or negatively
    to it.
  • Situational constraints often determine whether
    our behavior is consistent with our attitudes.
  • The greater the agreement among others about how
    we should behave, the greater the situational
    constraint imposed on persons whose attitudes are

The Reasoned Action Model
  • Based on the assumption that behavior is
  • This model incorporates several factors that have
    been shown to affect the consistency between
    attitudes and behavior.
  • Behavior is determined by behavioral intention.
  • Behavioral intention is influenced by attitude
    (positive or negative feelings about engaging in
    a behavior) and subjective norm (individuals
    perception of others beliefs about whether a
    behavior is appropriate or not).
  • Subjective norm is one form of situational

The Reasoned Action Model
Determining Attitude from Beliefs and Evaluations
Consequences of joining the Unification Church Belief Evaluation Product
Gain a sense of purpose 3 3 9
Have ones physical needs provided for 3 1 3
Loss of relationship 2 -2 -4
Loss of some personal freedom 1 -3 -3
Attitude 5
Determining Subjective Norm - Normative Beliefs
and Motivation to Comply
Significant others Normative beliefs Motivation to comply Product
Parents -3 2 -6
Friends 3 2 6
Cindy -3 3 -6
Sum -6
Assessment of the Model
  • Perceived behavior control takes into
    consideration that behavior may be affected not
    only by intentions but also by whether we have
    the resources or the ability needed to carry out
    the intention.
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