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Attitude Measurement. Carlos Torelli Lu Wang. Attitudes. Measuring the unobservable in order to predict behavior and to assess people’s responses to persuasion. Attitude properties: Evaluative Strength (accessibility, ambivalence, certainty, etc.) Cognitions vs. affect Functions

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Attitude measurement

Attitude Measurement

Carlos Torelli

Lu Wang


Attitudes
Attitudes

  • Measuring the unobservable in order to predict behavior and to assess people’s responses to persuasion.

  • Attitude properties:

    • Evaluative

    • Strength (accessibility, ambivalence, certainty, etc.)

    • Cognitions vs. affect

    • Functions

  • Attitudes as systems interconnected with other systems.

  • Not all attitudes are created equal: Attitudes can be self-defining  potential measurement issues.


Measuring attitude
Measuring Attitude

  • Ways to know another person’s attitude

    • Direct (Ask):

      • Structured vs. unstructured

      • One-item vs. multiple items (scales)

    • Indirect:

      • Observe reaction

      • Observe behavior

      • Judgmental biases

      • IAT (automatic evaluation/associations)

    • Physiological response

  • Personal Attitudes vs. Shared (General) Attitudes


Structured vs unstructured
Structured vs. Unstructured

  • Unstructured

    • Advantages:

  • Does not constrain people’s responses

  • Provide rich data

  • Especially useful during the early stages of investigating a particular issue

  • Structured

    • Advantages:

  • Easier for respondents to answer

  • Easier for researcher to score

  • Focus precisely on specific properties of the attitude


Single item direct measures example 1
Single-Item Direct Measures: Example 1

  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “I think Elizabeth Almond’s mandatory recycling program is the best way in which to deal with Clarkton’s trash crisis”?


Single item direct measures example 11
Single-Item Direct Measures: Example 1

  • Potential problems:

    • Acquiescence bias

    • What is it?

    • Why does it occur?

    • How to deal with it?


Single item direct measures example 2
Single-Item Direct Measures: Example 2

  • Do you favor tax increase to pay for Clarkton’s garbage to be trucked to another county, or do you think that Elizabeth Almond’s mandatory recycling proposal is a good idea?


Single item direct measures example 21
Single-Item Direct Measures: Example 2

  • Potential problems:

    • Persuasive argument in favor of one point of view

    • What about people who do not agree with either point of view?

    • How to deal with these problems?


Single item direct measures example 4
Single-Item Direct Measures: Example 4

  • What is your opinion about the mandatory recycling proposal: Do you favor it, oppose it, or neither?


Single item direct measures example 41
Single-Item Direct Measures: Example 4

  • Potential problems:

    • Limited response alternatives

    • How to deal with it?

    • Scale with a large or small number of options

    • What is a moderate length?


Single item direct measures example 6
Single-Item Direct Measures: Example 6

  • How do you feel about proposed city Bylaw C6-L573?


Single item direct measures example 61
Single-Item Direct Measures: Example 6

  • Potential problems:

    • Knowledge problem

    • Social desirability effect

    • How to deal with it?


What about multiple item direct measures
What about Multiple-Item Direct Measures?

  • Examples of Multiple-item measures

  • Thurstone equal-appearing intervals

  • Likert

  • Semantic Differentials

  • Conversation metaphor

    • Will respondents perceive multiple-item questions as trying to get at new information?

    • How should we deal with this problem?


What will you do
What Will You Do?

  • Which method will you use if you are to measure attitude in your research area?

  • What are some of the criteria that help you make the choice? (e.g. how much time/resource do you have in constructing the measure?)


What about indirect measures
What About Indirect Measures?

  • What is an implicit attitude?

    • We have it but we don’t say it (i.e., editing)

    • We are not conscious we have it (i.e., automatic evaluation)

  • What does the IAT measure?

    • Is it non-context dependent?

    • Culturally nurtured associative structures or “true” individual’s evaluations (i.e., cultural knowledge about a target-concept association vs. my personal evaluation about the target)

  • Is the IAT a measure of strength of association?

  • Check this website https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/research/


Attitude strength
Attitude Strength

  • Can strength-related dimensions be studied in isolation?

    • Measures of other strength-related properties (i.e., repeated expression and elaboration)

    • Manipulations that can eliminate differences in one or more dimensions (i.e., distraction task).

    • Measures and manipulations might not be interchangeable


Self defining attitudes
Self-Defining Attitudes

  • What about measuring self-defining attitudes?

    • Self-presentation

    • Contingencies of self-worth and editing of responses

  • Shall we anticipate whether certain attitudes we want to measure are self-defining?

    • What should we do about it?


Attitudes toward advertising
Attitudes Toward Advertising

  • Personal vs. Shared attitudes

    • Which one is more important?

    • Would both lead to same behaviors?


Interconnectedness of attitudes
Interconnectedness of Attitudes

  • If we want to measure attitude toward an object, can the questionnaire itself change individual’s prior attitudes? I f so, How can that happen?

    • Changing cognitions through previously presented information (i.e., other questions – context effects?)

    • Affecting emotions toward the object (i.e., prejudice).

    • Making accessible in memory certain behaviors (i.e., associating the objects to recently recalled behaviors)

    • Measuring attitude toward related objects (assimilation or contrast?)


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