Attitudes • An attitude is a positive, negative, or mixed reaction to a person, object, or idea. • Attitudes can be based on three general classes of information: • 1. Affect • 2. Behavior • 3. Cognition
How are Attitudes Formed? • Learning • Mere exposure—repeated exposure to a stimulus increases our feelings about the stimulus. • Direct experience • Operant conditioning-reward and punishment • Classical conditioning-association of CS with UCS • Observational learning-imitation of others • Media • Genetics
Attitudes and Judgment • Existing attitudes bias judgments of new information. • Death penalty study (Lord, Ross, & Lepper, 1979) • Fibrocystic disease and caffeine study (Kunda, 1987)
Attitudes and Judgment • Attitudes also bias recall of old information. • Introversion/Extraversion study (Sanitioso et al., 1990)
Attitudes and Behavior • LaPiere (1934) study of attitudes and behavior towards Chinese people.
Attitudes and Behavior • Factors that moderate the attitude-behavior link: • Strength of attitude • Specificity of attitude • Self-focus • Self-monitoring
Self-Monitoring Scale • 1. I find it hard to imitate the behavior of other people T F • 2. I can only argue for ideas which I already believe T F • 3. I have considered being an entertainer T F • 4. I would probably make a good actor T F • 5. I have trouble changing my behavior to suit different people and different situations T F
Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior Attitude toward a behavior Subjective norms Intention Behavior Perceived Behavioral control
Cognitive Dissonance • A state of psychological tension that is aroused when a person simultaneously holds two thoughts that contradict one another.
Theory of Cognitive Dissonance Inconsistency between thoughts Experience cognitive dissonance Attempt to reduce dissonance Change attitude
Festinger & Carlsmith (1959) • Participants did boring tasks for 1 hour. • Paid $1 or $20 to tell another participant that the tasks were enjoyable. • During interview, asked how much they enjoyed the tasks.
Three Dissonance-Arousing Conditions • 1. Attitude-behavior inconsistency • Leads to change in attitude • 2. Exerting wasted effort • Leads to effort justification • 3. Making a difficult decision • Leads to post-decisional dissonance
Two Perspectives on Self-Persuasion • 1. Cognitive Dissonance Theory (Festinger) – inconsistency between thoughts leads to unpleasant tension (dissonance), which motivates people to reduce dissonance by changing thoughts.
Two Perspectives on Self-Persuasion • 2. Self-Perception Theory (Bem) – people form and modify their attitudes by observing their own behavior.
Implications • Behavior Attitude change • Use of cognitive dissonance to promote healthy behavior.