Behavior and Attitudes - Social Psychology - Lecture Slides, Slides for Social Psychology. Acharya Nagarjuna University
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honda-civic10 September 2013

Behavior and Attitudes - Social Psychology - Lecture Slides, Slides for Social Psychology. Acharya Nagarjuna University

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Keywords in this lecture are: Behavior and Attitudes, Social Psychology, Abcs of Attitudes, Antecedents to Attitudes, Psychological Functions of Attitudes, Expressed Attitudes, Principle of Aggregation, Theory of Planned...
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Behavior and Attitudes

Social Psychology Behavior and Attitudes

How well do our attitudes predict our behavior?

When does our behavior affect our attitudes?

Why does our behavior affect our attitudes?

Do we smile because we’re happy, or are we

happy because we smile? docsity.com

The ABCs of Attitudes

Attitude: A favorable or unfavorable evaluative reaction

toward something on someone (often rooted in one’s

beliefs, and exhibited in one’s feelings and intended

behavior).

The ancestor of every action is a thought.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Antecedents to Attitudes

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Psychological Functions of Attitudes

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Expressed

Attitudes

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How Well Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?

 Expressed attitudes are generally not good

predictors of behavior.

– “It may be desirable to abandon the attitude

concept” (Allan Wicker, 1971)

– There are as many as 40 factors that mediate

the relationship between attitudes and

behavior.

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How Well Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?

When Social Influences on What we Say are

Minimal

We can only measure expressed attitudes which may or may not be the same as true attitudes.

– Sometimes we say what we think others want us to say.

– However, if attitudes are measured in nonreactive ways (like measuring facial muscle responses to various statements) then we might be able to get a true attitudes.

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How Well Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?

When Other Influences on Behavior are Minimal

 Principle of Aggregation: The effects of an attitude become more apparent when we look at a person’s aggregate or average behavior rather than at isolated acts.

– I have no idea what someone will do in any one particular situation, but I can predict the average.

– If a baseball player has a .400 average, then I predict that for every 10 times they come to bat, they’ll hit the ball 4 times.

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How Well Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?

When Attitudes Specific to the Behavior are

Examined

 General attitudes do not do well in predicting specific behaviors. – Specific attitudes do in fact predict specific behaviors.

 The Theory of Planned Behavior: One’s (a) attitudes, (b) perceived social norms, and (c) feelings of control together determine one’s intentions, which guide behavior.

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How Well Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?

When Attitudes are Potent

Well thought out attitudes predict behavior better than those we have gained passively.

 If explicitly reminded of our attitudes our behavior is more likely to reflect them.

 If made self-conscious (acting in front of a mirror) then our attitudes are a better predictor of our behaviors.

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How Well Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?

Prejudicial Attitudes Predict Discriminatory

Behavior

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When Does Our Behavior Affect Our Attitudes?

Role Playing

 Role: A set of norms that defines how people in

a given social position ought to behave. – “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to

himself and another to the multitude without finally getting

bewildered as to which may be true.”

 Nathaniel Hawthorne

 Stanford prison experiment

 Abu Ghraib

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When Does Our Behavior Affect Our Attitudes?

The Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon

 Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon: The tendency

for people who have first agreed to a small

request to comply later with a larger request.

– “Drive Carefully” study

– Homeless shelter volunteering

– “Can I have a moment of your time?”

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When Does Our Behavior Affect Our Attitudes?

The Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon

 Low-Ball Technique: A tactic for getting people to

agree to something. People who agree to an initial

request will often still comply when the requester ups

the ante. People who receive only the costly request

are less likely to comply with it.

– Car salesmen that sell the “base car” then tell you

the real price.

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When Does Our Behavior Affect Our Attitudes?

Evil and Moral Acts

We are more likely to hurt those we dislike, but

we also come to dislike those we have hurt.

– Prisoner-of-war guards who must sometimes hurt

prisoners as part of the job often come to hate the

prisoners.

– If we harm an innocent victim, especially if we do so

voluntarily, we will often begin to disparage the

victim to justify the behavior.

 Doing a favor for someone leads to more liking

of the person. docsity.com

When Does Our Behavior Affect Our Attitudes?

Social Movements

 The act of saying the Pledge of Allegiance

everyday leads to patriotic beliefs in children.

 Brainwashing might be considered the most

extreme case of this phenomenon.

– Some of the captured American soldiers

during the Korean war came to “believe” that

communism was good following

brainwashing.

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Why Do Actions Affect Attitudes?

 Self-Presentation Theory

 Cognitive-Dissonance Theory

 Self-Perception Theory

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Why Does Behavior Affect Attitudes?

Self-Presentation: Impression Management

 Self-Presentation: The act of expressing

oneself and behaving in ways designed to

create a favorable impression or an impression

that corresponds to one’s ideals.

We believe that making a good impression is

the way to gain social and material rewards.

 No one wants to look foolishly inconsistent.

– We express attitudes to match our actions to avoid

inconsistency. docsity.com

Why Does Behavior Affect Attitudes?

Self-Justification: Cognitive Dissonance

 Our attitudes change because we are motivated

to maintain consistency among our cognitions.

 Cognitive Dissonance: Tension that arises

when one is simultaneously aware of two

inconsistent cognitions. For example,

dissonance may occur when we realize that we

have, with little justification, acted contrary to

our attitudes or made a decision favoring one

alternative despite reasons favoring another. docsity.com

Why Does Behavior Affect Attitudes?

Self-Justification: Cognitive Dissonance

Insufficient Justification

 If you want to buy a man's beliefs, how much should you pay him?

 Festinger and Carlsmith, social psychologists at Stanford University, explored this question in 1956. The following aspects of cognitive dissonance were investigated by way of laboratory experiment and interview.

 That when an individual is forced to act in a manner that is contrary to his private attitude, he will experience dissonance.

 That when external forces which compel him to act contrary to his attitudes are overwhelmingly strong, the total magnitude of dissonance will be minimal; if the forces are weak, or just barely strong enough to induce him to act, or behave they way he does, dissonance will be maximal.

 That one way to reduce dissonance is for the individual to change his attitude to correspond with his action/behavior. Since the pressure to reduce dissonance is related to the magnitude of it, Festinger and Carlsmith thought that attitude change should be greatest when the force used to induce the action/behavior is just minimally sufficient.

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Why Does Behavior Affect Attitudes?

Self-Justification: Cognitive Dissonance

Insufficient Justification

 Insufficient Justification Effect: Reduction of dissonance by

internally justifying one’s behavior when external justification is

“insufficient”.

Attitudes follow behaviors for which we feel some responsibility.

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Why Does Behavior Affect Attitudes?

Self-Justification: Cognitive Dissonance

Dissonance After Decisions

 After important decisions we tend to upgrade

the choice made and downgrade the choice not

made.

– Once we have made a choice, the grass does not

grow greener on the other side of the fence.

– Racetrack betters that had just placed a bet were

more optimistic about their choice than those

waiting in line to bet.

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Why Does Behavior Affect Attitudes?

Self-Perception

 When we see someone else’s behavior we attribute

the behavior to the situation or to the person.

– We also seem to make similar attributions when we

observe our own behavior.

 Self-Perception Theory: The theory that when we are

unsure of our attitudes, we infer them much as would

someone observing us, by looking at our behavior and

the circumstances under which it occurs.

– William James proposed we infer our emotions by

observing our actions, we are happy because we

smile. docsity.com

Why Does Behavior Affect Attitudes?

Self-Perception

Expressions and Attitudes

 “Sit all day in a moping posture, sigh, and reply to everything

with a dismal voice, and your melancholy lingers.”

 William James

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