Lecture 1: Attitude Content and Structure & Direct Measurement Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY320H1F: Social Psychology of Attitudes with C. Midgley > Lecture 1: Attitude Content and Structure & Direct Measurement > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lecture 1: Attitude Content and Structure & Direct Measurement Deck (29)
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attitude (1)

  • A person’s summary evaluation (i.e. favorability vs. unfavorability toward) an attitude object.


attitude object (2)

  • Anything that can be liked or disliked.
  • Includes things that are concrete and abstract.


multicomponent model (1)

  • Proposes that attitudes have three components: cognitive, affective, and behavioural.


cognitive components (2)

  • Beliefs, thoughts, and attributes we associate with an attitude object.
  • What most people focus on when they talk about attitudes.


affective components (2)

  • Feelings or emotions linked to an attitude object.
  • Aren’t completely separate from cognitive components, but are distinct.


behavioural components (2)

  • Past behaviours or experiences regarding an attitude object.
  • e.g. If you’ve enjoyed playing sports in the past, you’ll probably conclude that you like sports.


Breckler (1984) (3)

  • Found that the three attitude components are empirically distinct.
  • Participants, while in the presence of a snake, indicated factors relating to their cognitive, affective, and behavioural attitudes towards snakes.
  • Responses were given scores, analyzed, and it was found that the components only moderately correlated.


When is the weight of affective or cognitive components stronger than the other? (2)

  • For blood donations and liked (in) groups, affective components were more predictive.
  • For abortions and comprehensive exams, and disliked (out) groups, cognitive components were more predictive.


Abelson et al. (1984) (4)

  • Examined the roles of thoughts and feelings in predicting attitudes towards American presidential candidates.
  • For each candidate, participants indicated their cognitive, affective, and overall attitudes.
  • Favorability of affective and cognitive responses were uniquely predictive of overall evaluations of each candidate.
  • Thus, both cognitive and affective components can inform attitudes.


Huskinson & Haddock (2004) (8)

  • Asked: Are some people more influenced by affect vs. cognition and vice versa?
  • Experiment 1: Showed that some people relied more on affect and some on cognition, but many relied on both or neither.
    • People who rely more on affect (E-A correlation above median, E-C correlation below median) were called “feelers.”
    • People who rely more on cognition (E-C correlation above median, E-A correlation below median) were called “thinkers.”
  • Experiment 2: Thinkers and feelers were presented with a new soft drink, receiving either a cognitive or an affective appeal.
    • Affective appeal worked better on feelers, cognitive appeal worked better on thinkers;
    • However, the cognitive appeal worked just as well as the affective appeal on feelers.
    • Says that we can probably just use cognitive appeals all the time, and we should never use affective appeals with thinkers.


one-dimensional perspective of attitudes (2)

  • Positive and negative elements are at opposite ends of a single dimension.
  • Not very useful unless you’re talking about something simple, or you want to find people with very polarizing attitudes.


two-dimensional perspective of attitudes (2)

  • Attitude is organized along two dimensions: 1) how much negative content there is, and 2) how much positive content there is.
  • The scale moves from more negative, to neutral/ambivalent, to more positive.


attitudinal ambivalence (1)

  • When evaluations of the attitude object include both positive and negative elements.


inter-component ambivalence (1)

  • Ambivalence between components (e.g. negative cognitive elements but positive affective components).


intra-component ambivalence (1)

  • Ambivalence within components (e.g. both negative and positive cognitive components).


potential ambivalence (1)

  • May or may not be consciously perceived by the individual.


felt ambivalence (1)

  • The feeling of tension that people experience when thinking about an attitude object.


simultaneous accessibility (1)

  • When potential ambivalence depends on how quickly and uniformly conflicting evaluations come to mind.


preference for consistency (PFC) (2)

  • When people review past behaviors when making new decisions.
  • If preference for consistency is high, they are more likely to ignore new information, biased to past behaviors.


Newby-Clark, McGregor, & Zanna (2002) (8)

  • Proposes that simultaneous accessibility of potential ambivalence determines the strength of the relation between potential and felt ambivalence.
  • Proposes that people high in PFC who are aware of their ambivalence will feel the most discomfort.
  • Participants were asked to express their views towards abortion and capital punishment: 1) in a control condition, 2) while only considering the positive aspects, and 3) while only considering the negative aspects.
  • Simultaenous accessibility was measured by seeing how quickly and uniformly attitudes came to mind during each measure.
  • Increased simultaneous accessibility of potential ambivalence increases the relation between potential and felt ambivalence.
  • Whatever produces cognitive inconsistency, an experience of discomfort will result only when that consistency is simultaneously available.
  • People will expend effort to maintain chronically low simultaneous accessibility to keep inconsistency low.
  • Ambivalence and cognitive dissonance might share similar mechanisms.


direct measurement (3)

  • Explicitly asking people to introspect.
  • Most commonly used because it’s relatively easy to administer and cheap.
  • Likert method; semantic differential approach; and open-ended measures.


problems with direct measurement (4)

  • Individuals may not be aware of their attitudes.
  • Subtle differences in item presentation can influence responses.
  • Unclear how relative vs. absolute the scores are.
  • Subject to impression management.


impression management (2)

  • Giving responses that present oneself in a favourable way, even if the responses are inaccurate.
  • Most common when studying attitudes about sensitive issues or issues relevant to norms of political or social appropriateness.


social desirability bias (2)

  • Most common form of impression management.
  • Presenting oneself in a way that’s most socially desirable.


Likert scale (5)

  • Presents a series of belief statements indicating a favourable or unfavourable attitude towards a topic.
  • Using a scale, respondents indicate their degree of agreement or disagreement towards the statements.
  • Need multiple items to: make sure people are answering honestly, that you’re measuring the right construct, and so that you can measure the 3 different attitude components.
  • Pros: quick to administer, easy to answer, useful for comparing groups’ or individuals’ attitudes towards a single attitude object.
  • Cons: can’t compare scores for different attitude objects because they would be using different scales.


semantic differential approach (6)

  • Respondents given set of bipolar adjective scales that use general evaluative terms and asked to choose the option best representing opinion.
  • Scores across different scales are averaged—allows us to compare scores to different attitude objects;
  • Must be careful that the adjectives mean the same thing for the different attitude objects.
    • e.g. If you want to compare liking of celery and capital punishment, make sure your participants know that—otherwise people might indicate they like capital punishment more than celery.
  • Pros: simple and effective.
  • Cons: difficult to measure behavioural components.
  • Differential framing approach and content-specific approach.


differential framing approach (2)

  • Using a semantic differential approach with the same dimensions but different instructions for each component.
  • e.g. cognitive: x is bad/good; affective: x makes me feel bad/good.


content-specific approach (2)

  • Using a semantic differential approach with different dimensions for each of the different components;
  • e.g. cognitive: useless/useful; affective: sad/delighted.


open-ended measures (4)

  • Participants write down all the thoughts, feelings, and behavioural experiences they associate with the attitude object.
  • Asked to rate each item they listed in terms of how positive/negative it is. Scores are then averaged.
  • Pros: more comprehensive and avoids biasing/restraining answers.
  • Cons: time-consuming to fill out and analyze; it can also be difficult for people to articulate their thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviours.