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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

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  • 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
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
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 judgment5
Attitudes and Judgment
  • Attitudes also bias recall of old information.
    • Introversion/Extraversion study (Sanitioso et al., 1990)
attitudes and behavior
Attitudes and Behavior
  • LaPiere (1934) study of attitudes and behavior towards Chinese people.
attitudes and behavior7
Attitudes and Behavior
  • Factors that moderate the attitude-behavior link:
    • Strength of attitude
    • Specificity of attitude
    • Self-focus
    • Self-monitoring
self monitoring scale
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
Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior

Attitude toward

a behavior











cognitive dissonance
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
Theory of Cognitive Dissonance

Inconsistency between thoughts

Experience cognitive dissonance

Attempt to reduce dissonance

Change attitude

festinger carlsmith 1959
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
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
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 persuasion16
Two Perspectives on Self-Persuasion
  • 2. Self-Perception Theory (Bem) – people form and modify their attitudes by observing their own behavior.
  • Behavior  Attitude change
  • Use of cognitive dissonance to promote healthy behavior.