Lecture 5: Behavioural Influences on Attitudes Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY320H1F: Social Psychology of Attitudes with C. Midgley > Lecture 5: Behavioural Influences on Attitudes > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lecture 5: Behavioural Influences on Attitudes Deck (16)
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Regan & Fazio (1977) (5)

  • Found that attitudes about things we've had direct experience with are more predictive of behaviour than attitudes about things we haven't.
  • Participants learned about 5 interesting puzzles: either played for 20 mins or just read about them.
  • Completed a questionnaire measuring attitudes towards puzzles.
  • Experimenter left and hidden camera recorded amount of time participants played with puzzles.
  • For participants who formed direct experiences, their attitudes were strong predictors of time spent playing; reading about puzzles: attitudes were weak predictors.


Fazio et al. (2004) (5)

  • Found that we have a weighting bias for negative info when forming attitues.
  • Participants played a game called BeanFest, where they explored for good beans and bad beans.
  • Were more accurate in identifying a bad been as bad (vs. a good bean as good).
  • Also more likely to assume that a new bean which looks similar to bad beans is bad (vs. assuming a bean that looks similar to good beans is good).
  • Their feelings about their experiences correlated more with how many bad beans they found vs. good beans.


Bem (1965, 1972) or self-perception theory (3)

  • Behaviour can be driven by factors other than attitudes, which aren't often apparent.
    • Sometimes our attitudes are also weak, or we don't know what it is.
  • Self-perception theory says that at these times, we rely on observations of our own behaviour to deduce our attitudes or motivations.


Salancik & Conway (1975) (6)

  • Administered a questionnaire with pro- and anti-religious behaviours.
  • The 1st version used "on occasion" for pro behaviours, and "frequently" for anti behaviours; the 2nd version reversed it: pro-religious frequently and anti-religious on occasion.
  • Participants completing the 1st version agreed with more pro than anti-religious items, vice-versa for the 2nd version.
  • Participants rated the extent they believed themselves to be religious, and 1st version rated themselves as more religious compared to 2nd version.
  • Shows that participants inferred their religious attitudes from their responses to the biased questionnaire items.
    • Why we need to have counter-balanced questionnaires.


Chaiken & Baldwin (1981) (5)

  • We gauge our attitudes using self-perception, but only when we're unsure of our attitudes.
  • Participants first indicated their attitudes toward protecting the environment, environmentalism, extent they believe themselves to be an environmentalist, etc.
  • 2 weeks later, they completed a questionnaire containing items framed to remind them of their pro- or anti-environmental behaviours.
    • Used the "frequently" vs. "occasionally" manipulation.
  • Participants reported more favourable attitudes after being reminded of their positive behaviours, but only if they demonstrated ambivalence during the first round of questionnaires.
    • Also, people who have high affective-cognitive consistency aren't influenced by external cues.


other findings about self-perception (4)

  • Sufficient to induce belief of having performed a behaviour (Albarracin & Wyer, 2000).
  • Or to imagine performing a behaviour (Critcher & Gilovich, 2010).
  • Or even to watch someone else perform a behaviour (Goldstein & Cialdini, 2007), called vicarious self-perception: when people infer their own attributes (e.g. an attitude) by observing actions of others.
    • Requires sense of merged identity with the target and the target’s actions to appear voluntary.


Festinger (1957, 1964) or cognitive dissonance theory (2)

  • When people have a set of two or more beliefs that don't fit in together, or act against prior attitudes without sufficient reason, they experience dissonance.
  • This aversive tension creates discomfort, which people try to reduce.


techniques to reduce dissonance (3)

  • Add beliefs to explain the gap between behaviour and attitude.
  • Trivialize (dismiss the importance of) the inconsistency.
  • Change attitude to match behaviour.


ways dissonance occurs (3)

  • Behaviours that commit us ahead of direct exposure to attitude object (e.g. you go to a concert for the first time, that you paid for, and then you end up not liking it).
  • Behaviours that commit us to one of two equally preferred options (e.g. if you have to choose between two chocolate bars you like equally).
  • Behaviours that contradict a non-ambivalent attitude (e.g. you believe in environmentalism but then you buy a plastic water bottle).


Aron & Mills (1959) or the effort justification effect (5)

  • Female participants recruited for a discussion group on the topic of sex, but first had to undergo a "screening."
  • Severe initation (reading graphic descriptions of sex with obscene words) vs. mild initation (reading list of non-obscene sexual words).
  • Then told they couldn't participate so just had to listen to a recording, which was a very boring discussion.
  • Measured participants' attitudes and found that they were more positive in the severe initiation condition.
  • Demonstrates the effort justification effect: we arrive at more positive conclusions about something if we've worked harder to get it.


Brehm (1956) or spreading of alternatives (4)

  • Participants rated some household objects on an 8-point scale.
  • Later asked to choose between 2 equally liked items as a reward for participating.
  • Then re-assessed attitudes towards all objects; liked the chosen object more than the unchosen one.
  • Demonstrates the spreading of alternatives effect: after being forced to decide between two equally liked options, we reduce dissonance by changing our attitudes to match our choice.


further research on spreading of alternatives (5)

  • If think decision is reversible, the opposite effect occurs – i.e. chosen alternative seems worse, unchosen alternative seems better (Gilbert & Ebert, 2002).
    • Because option to switch prompts people to think about reasons they might want to (Bullens et al., 2013).
  • People engage in spreading of alternatives in order to move on to other things (Harmon-Jones & Harmon-Jones, 2002).
    • People who are more approach-oriented show greater spreading of alternatives than people who are more avoidance-oriented (Harmon-Jones et al., 2011).
    • Receiving neurofeedback training that increases activity in the area of the brain that is associated with action-orientation increases spreading of alternatives (Harmon-Jones et al, 2008).


Festinger & Carlsmith (1959) (4)

  • Found that lack of sufficient external justification for counter-attitudinal behaviour can result in changing one's attitude.
  • Participants had to do boring tasks for 1 hour, and were then paid either $20 or $1 to lie to the next round of participants that the task was exciting; control: not asked to lie.
  • Then completed a questionnaire about how much they enjoyed the tasks from the experiment.
  • Had more positive attitudes towards the task if they were offered $1 vs. $20 to lie (or not at all).


reasons for attitude change after counter-attitudinal behaviour (4)

  • Threat to the self-concept? Effects are reduced if people are given opportunity to re-affirm their self-integrity – e.g. by expressing values that are important to them (Steele & Liu 1988).
  • Desire to appear consistent? Less attitude change after counter-attitudinal behaviour when procedures make the behaviour seem truly anonymous (Gaes et al., 1978).
    • Stronger effect for people who are more concerned about impression others have of them (Paulhus, 1982; Scheier & Carver, 1980).
  • Desire to avoid hypocrisy? Shown in Stone et al. (1994) with behaviours.
    • Also shown with attitudes: when failure (or people’s perception of your failure) to comply with an attitude seems harder to change, it may be easier to change the underlying attitude (Fried, 1998).


Stone et al. (1994) (5)

  • Making people aware of their hypocrisy brings discomfort and motivation to bring behaviour in line with attitude.
  • Participants were recorded giving a speech about using condoms every time you have sex, then made a list about the times they didn't use a condoms.
    • Some controls did one or the other.
  • All given 4 $1 bills and a chance to buy condoms for 10 cents each.
  • Participants purchased more condoms after giving the speech and making the list vs. both controls.


Harmon-Jones et al. (2011) (10)

  • Demonstrates that dissonance reduction is an approach-related process.
  • Study 1: Participants read descriptions of experiments that had unique appealing and unappealing characteristics.
    • Then given BAS and BIS questionnaires.
    • Presented with two tasks rated similarly positively and chose which one they would perform.
    • Then asked to re-rate all 7 seven tasks.
    • BAS related to more spreading of alternatives.
  • Study 2: BAS related to attitudes being more consistent with recent induced compliance behaviour.
    • Participants read a boring passage then given low or high choice to write a statement contrary to their attitude.
    • After writing a statement, indicated on a 7-point scale how interesting they found the passage they just read.
    • In the high choice condition, higher BAS correlated with more positive attitudes.