PSY220 - 7. Attitudes & Persuasion Flashcards Preview

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What is an attitude?: tricomponent approach (Breckler, 1984)

i. affective reaction – evaluative reactions (positive/negative)
ii. behavioural reaction – can be independent of affective response (reinforcement), behavioural inclination - habit
iii. cognitive reaction – relevant beliefs activated by object
A + C often work in opposite ways


What is an attitude?: single-component approach (e.g., Eagly & Chaiken, 1993)

not sufficient to represent using only positive/negative dimension
mentally rank on positive dimension + simultaneously on negative dimension
can be both highly positive + negative


According to recent evidence…when we consider our attitude toward something (an attitude object) we consider where the object falls on

a) positivity + negativity dimension
When object has high positively, low negative = positive
High negative, low positive = negative


According to recent evidence…when we consider our attitude toward something (an attitude object) we consider where the object falls on

Ambivalent – approach-avoidance conflict, both forces pulling strongly: Oscillating behaviour
Indifference – low positive + negative
Static behaviour
Diff observable behaviour


According to recent evidence…when we consider our attitude toward something (an attitude object) we consider where the object falls on

Negativity dimension
Lo Hi
Positivity Hi Positive attitude Ambivalent attitude
Lo Indifference Negative attitude


How can attitudes be measured? Self-report: Pros

1. Convenient, cheap
2. Easy
3. Often “good enough” is all you need


How can attitudes be measured? Self-report

losses in precision
1. slight changes in wording can lead to extremely diff results
unaware of how accessibility (priming) can shape their attitude preceeding questions can change responses to subsequent questions


How can attitudes be measured? Self-report: Cons

2. may give socially desirable response
bogus pipeline - routinized to give most political correct response – hooked up to fake lie detector machine, responses are more extreme


Likert scale

list of statements about an attitude object + asked to indicate on a multiple-point scale how much they agree/disagree with each statement
Suppelement with cover measures


Covert measures

immune to political correctness measures, largely out of participants’ control
1.physiological measure: minute changes in facial muscles, linked with emotional states, heart rate
don’t know where to attribute arousal
Brain wave increased when negative picture presented after string of positive pictures
Strength of spike reflect strength of attitude


Covert measures

2. unconscious accessibility-based measures (IAT, the Fazio technique)
IAT: Measure attitudes toward anything
Speed at which you associate things with positive/negative
Fazio works with similar principle


What’s the relationship between our attitudes and our behavior?

Correlations betw behaviour + attitude disappointing to modest
Not a good predictor of corresponding behaviour


Fishbein & Ajzen: Theory of Planned Behavior: The relationship between attitude and behavior placed in broader context.

1. attitude toward behavior
2. social norms
3. perceived control over behavior


Do what extent does your attitude toward tutoring high school kids translate into behavior?

take into account social norms, practical constraints, when all 3 info available then you can determine behavioural intentions that predicts strongly the actual behaviour


What predicts when an attitude will have a strong vs. weak influence on behavior?
A. Attitude strength

a) importance
1)directly affects own outcomes and self-interests
2)related to deeply held philosophical, political + religious values – prolife consistent with religious values
3)of concern to close friends, family, and social ingroups


What predicts when an attitude will have a strong vs. weak influence on behavior?
A. Attitude strength

1)more you think about a topic, stronger attitude becomes, thoughts not often critical, more easily activated


What predicts when an attitude will have a strong vs. weak influence on behavior?
A. Attitude strength

2) self-awareness (Gibbons: “mirror study”) – political attitude questionnaire – half there’s a mirror – exhibited stronger correlation betw attitude + behaviour (more likely to sign up for political club). Arouses discrepencies – what I am + where I want to be – opportunities to solve discrepancies. Raises awareness for discrepancies between attitude + behaviour


What makes an appeal persuasive?

Measure attitude at time 1 + 2 – significant change = persuasion


1940’s & 50’s: Hovland et al.

1) learning of message contents
2) acceptance
WWII + Coldwar – interested in military propaganda
Persuaded only to arguments that they attend to, comprehend, remember


The Elaboration-Likelihood Model (ELM)

a) dual-process model:
i. central route (controlled, systematic processing of message’s arguments) – requires cognitive resources
ii. peripheral route (automatic, “quick and dirty” processing of message’s surface features)


The Elaboration-Likelihood Model (ELM)

Peripheral: often works via use of heuristics (“experts can be trusted,” “attractive people can be trusted,” “if there’s science, it must be good”)
Superbowl – likely drunk – Try to pursuade viewer through positive associations


Source variable #1: likeability

1. students recruited to get other students to sign a petition to get the university to stop serving meat in cafeterias.
2.petitioners gave strong reasons.
3.varied was the physical attractiveness of the petitioners (both attractive and unattractive males and females).


Source variable #1: likeability

Results: Attractive petitioner Unattractive petitioner
41% signed > 32% signed


Source variable #2: personal involvement

No relevance – take things at face value
1.speaker proposing that seniors should be required to take comprehensive exams in order to graduate.
2. ½ told that speaker was an education professor at Princeton University, ½ told speaker was high school student


Source variable #2: personal involvement

3.V#2: good, well-reasoned arguments and hard evidence vs. poor weak message.
4.V#3: exams might be instituted that year or in ten years.
5.DV: attitude change.
Results: Personal involvement determined relative impact of source expertise and speech quality.


Source variable #2: personal involvement

Directly affected S’s - central Unaffected S’s -peripheral
Attitudes based on quality Attitudes based on who saying
arguments it
starting this year – focused on quality, not persuaded if bad 10 years – endorsed if advocated by prof, rejected if high school


Message variables: #1- Amount of material

depends on whether you think subjects will process centrally or peripherally
peripheral route – more info = more valid
central route – more info could mean more valid argument or it could backfire
focus on quality over quantity – so either no effect or gets annoyed


Message variables: #2- Order of material

Does early material make more of an impact or does later material?
(Age-old dilemma in politics: Is it better to have your political convention earlier in the summer or later in the summer?)
The effect of order depends on the exact timing


Miller & Campbell (1959)

1. Subjects read summary of plaintiff’s case, summary of defendant’s case
2. Subjects made their decision.
What was manipulated/varied by the experimenters:
(a) amount of time between the two message,
(b) amount of time between 2nd message and making decision.


Miller & Campbell (1959)

1. Message 1→ Message 2→ One week→ Decision: Primacy
2. Message 1→ One week→ Message 2→ Decision: Recency
forgetting has to occur in order to have the primacy effect
primacy effect is default
when delay is after message 1: no opportunity for forgetting for message 2 so it is more influential