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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?)