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Affective-Cognitive Consistency, Attitudes, Conformity, and Behavior
Ross Norman University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
Three studies were done to investigate the relationship between affectivecognitive consistency and the strength of the attitude-behavior relation. In each study the affective and cognitive components of students' attitudes toward volunteering as a subject for psychological research were assessed, and an opportunity was later presented for these students to actually volunteer as subjects. It was found as hypothesized that students showing high affectivecognitive consistency were more likely to act in accord with stated attitude than those showing- low intraattitudinal consistency. It was also hypothesized that students showing high affective-cognitive consistency would have less tendency than low-consistency subjects to conform to the actions of others in attitude-relevant behavior. The data did not provide strong support for this prediction. Overall, the results indicate the importance of assessing both the affective and the cognitive components of attitude in identifying those whose verbal attitude reports have consequences for their behavior.
Attitude formation and change have long been prominent research topics in social psychology. Implicit in most of this research appears to be the assumption that an individual's attitudes are significant determinants of his subsequent behavior. However, despite early warnings against assuming a strong relation between verbal attitude measures and other forms of behavior (e.g., Corey, 1937; LaPiere, 1934), only in recent years has there been a concerted effort to study the nature of the attitude-behavior relation. Recent approaches to the study of attitudes and behavior (e.g., Fishbein, 1967; Wicker, 1971) have emphasized that behavior is a function of many factors (norms, situational pressures, etc.) in addition to attitude. When these "other variables" are taken into consideration in addition to attitude, behavioral predictions are significantly improved (e.g.,
This paper is based, in part, on a dissertation submitted by the author in partial fulfillment of the doctoral requirements at the University of Michigan. The author would particularly like to express his thanks to his supervisor, Melvin Manis, and Eugene Burnstein, James Jackson and Howard Schuman for their advice in the execution of this research; and to Richard Sorrentino for his comments on an earlier draft of this article. Requests for reprints should be sent to Ross Norman, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Copies of the scales used in this article may also be obtained from the author.
Ajzen & Fishbein, 1973; Wicker, 1971). That other factors beside attitude influence behavior is hardly surprising. Although the development of refined methodology for the assessment of these additional influences is a welcome result of recent research, the fact that various normative and situational pressures can influence an individual's tendency to behave in accord with his attitudes is, of course, to be expected. The present research has been directed toward identifying structural characteristics of attitudes which may help predict the strength of their relation to behavior. In particular, this work focuses on Rosenberg's hypothesis (1960, 1968) that the greater the consistency between the affective and cognitive components of an attitude, the truer is the disposition implied by that attitude. To quote Rosenberg (1968):
. . . for any particular social issue or object as con* fronted by a sample drawn from some fairly uniform sector of the population (e.g., college students recruited for attitude change experiments, or survey respondents recruited from some particular sector of the total national population) one can reasonably expect that those who show less intra-attitudinal consistency are, on the average, less invested in the issue and less likely to have a presently stable orientation toward it. (p. 88)
Rosenberg (1968) suggested two reasons why attitudes characterized by low affective83
Ross NORMAN of an individual's attitude will be more predictive of behavior when it is consistent with the cognitive component of the attitude structure than when there is inconsistency between the two. (b) Hypothesis 2—A cognitive index of an individual's attitude will be a better predictor of behavior when it is consistent with the affective component of the attitude than when there is inconsistency between the two. A series of three experiments were undertaken to test the importance of affectivecognitive consistency. The first experiment tested the relation between structural consistency and the predictive validity of verbal attitudes. The second was an attempt to replicate the first and also tested the relation of structural consistency to attitude stability. The final experiment examined whether affective-cognitive consistency also moderates subjects' tendency to conform to others in attitude-relevant behavior. Such an effect might be found if, as Rosenberg suggests, structural consistency is related to an individual's involvement and certainty concerning an issue. Volunteering to act as a subject for psychological research was chosen as the attitude object. This was an issue from which it seemed possible to obtain measures of attitude and behavior under circumstances which would not appear too unusual to the subjects. METHOD Development of the Attitude Instrument
Attitude theorists have traditionally made a distinction between the affective and cognitive components of attitude (e.g., Bern, 1970; Katz & Stotland, 1959; Newcomb, 1959; Rosenberg & Hovland, 1960; Triandis, 1971), and several recent studies using factor analytic techniques support this long-standing conceptual distinction (Kernan & Trebbi, 1973; Kothandapani, 1971; Ostrom, 1969). The affective component in these theories refers to the individual's general level of positive or negative feeling concerning the issue. The cognitive component consists of the individual's beliefs concerning the issue. When the attitude issue is an action or behavior, the relevant cognitive structure is considered to be the individual's beliefs about the instrumental utility of the action for the attainment or blocking of his or her goals weighted by the value placed on such goals. In the first two studies a 9-point rating scale of overall favorability toward acting as a subject in psychological research was used as the affective index. This scale was anchored at one extreme by the term Very Favorable and at the other extreme by the term Very Unfavorable, and a neutral point
cognitive (structural) consistency are likely to be unstable. 1. The procedure used for assessing the affective and cognitive attitude components force the respondent to examine inconsistencies between his thoughts and feelings of which he was previously unaware. Once the inconsistency is salient, the affective and/or cognitive components may be changed to bring about greater consistency, and such changes result in instability of both components in those attitudes which show initially low structural consistency. 2. Rosenberg also noted that individuals who are not particularly interested in an issue rarely have well-articulated, well-thought-out attitudes. Often such individuals will not reveal their apathy by giving a neutral response but rather will take a position that is a reaction to situational pressures or that represents the consensus of some salient individual or important reference group (see also Converse, 1970). Such a responder may be regarded as presenting a "vacuous" or "inauthentic" attitude toward the issue. For the vacuous responder, neither statements concerning his beliefs nor his feelings are reflective of a true and stable disposition, and his attitude responses are apt to show considerable and apparently random fluctuation over time. Previous research by Rosenberg (1968) has supported the notion that affective-cognitive consistency is associated with attitudinal stability and resistance to persuasion attempts. Given that attitudes characterized by affective-cognitive consistency have greater stability than less consistent attitudes, it seems reasonable to anticipate that they will have greater validity as predictors of subsequent behavior. While there is evidence that affective-cognitive consistency results in relatively stable verbal attitudes, there is at present no empirical support for the idea that structural consistency is related to predictive validity. Such a relation, if it does exist, would be important in identifying individuals who will act in accord with their attitudes from those whose stated attitudes are relatively superficial and have few behavioral ramifications. The above considerations lead to the following two hypotheses: (a) Hypothesis 1—An affective or evaluative index
ATTITUDES, CONFORMITY, AND BEHAVIOR
was explicitly indicated. Similar scales have been used by Kothandapani (1971), Ostrom (1969), and Rosenberg (1968) to measure the affective component of the attitude. In the third study a 16-item semantic differential evaluative scale was used in addition to the self-rating scale in order to make the cognitive and affective scales of comparable length. Development of the cognitive index was somewhat more complex. Goals that appeared possible relevant to the attitude issue were selected by the- author from lists presented by Carlson (1956), Rokeach (1968), and Rosenberg (19S6). These goals were submitted to a group of judges (4 psychology graduate students and 40 introductory psychology students) who were asked to indicate whether each goal was relevant to the attitude issue, whether there were marked redundancies between the goals, and whether were goals relevant to the attitude issue which were not included in the list. Based on the judges' responses, the number of goals was reduced to 12. Examples of goals in the final list include: helping others, advancing self-knowledge, having new and interesting kinds of experience, and having lots of free time. In the final version of the attitude questionnaire, these 12 goals were rated on two 9-point scales. On one the respondent was asked to indicate the extent to which he believed each goal would be achieved (or blocked) by volunteering as a subject. This scale was anchored by the phrase completely achieved at one end (scored as +4) through a neutral point (0), to completely blocked (—4) at the other end. The other scale was used to evaluate each goal; this scale was similar to the "belief scale" described above, but it was anchored by the terms extremely positive goal (+4) and extremely negative goal (—4). The overall cognitive index was calculated by finding the product of the two ratings for each goal and summing across goals (see Rosenberg, 1960). Space was also included at the end of the questionnaire for subjects to include and rate on the two scales goals they considered relevant to the issue which were not in the list of 12 presented to them. Nine-point rating scales were also provided in the third study for respondents to indicate how certain they felt about their attitude: how important they considered the issue and how much thought they had given to the issue in the past.
A total of 242 students from introductory psychology courses at the University of Michigan were used as subjects in the three studies. Of these, 48 subjects were dropped from various analyses in the studies because of their absence at the time of an attitudinal or behavioral measure, or suspicion concerning some aspect of the experimental procedure.
In all studies the initial attitude questionnaire was administered during regular class meetings by the instructors. The questionnaire was described as part of "a general survey being done within the depart-
ment of psychology." Subjects were asked to put their names on the completed forms, since there was some possibility that the department might want to relate their answers to a later questionnaire. In Experiment 2 -the attitudes scales were readministered 3 weeks after the initial assessment. In the first two studies the behavioral measure was taken 3 weeks after presentation of the attitude questionnaire (in Experiment 2 after presentation of the second questionnaire). An experimenter, introduced as a graduate student in .psychology, was given S minutes at the beginning of a class session to recruit volunteer subjects for a research project. The students were -told that the study would take approximately 1 hour of their time and would hopefully prove to be interesting and educationally beneficial. They were also told that they could not be paid for their time and that their participation in the experiment would not count toward the 3 hours of "subject time" that was required as part of their course. Sign-up sheets were then passed around the classes so that students who were interested in volunteering could indicate when they would be able to come to the designated location for the experiment. Volunteers were given an opportunity to sign up for any time between 9 a.m. to S p.m. on any one of three designated days. Students who signed up and did indeed show up at the proper place and time participated in an experiment unrelated to this study. The behavioral measure in Experiment 3 differed from that in the first two studies. The change was made in order to better control situational pressures relevant to the behavior. Subjects were recruited from 'their classes to take part individually in an experiment as part of their course requirement. They were given a wide choice of times to sign up ranging from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday of a given week. Of the students who had answered the initial attitude questionnaire, IDS signed up in class as subjects for the study. An additional 29 students were contacted by telephone and scheduled to participate in the experiment. Of the students who had filled out the earlier attitude questionnaire, 127 actually showed up for the experiment. When each subject arrived at the designated lab, he or she was seated in a waiting area to await being called by the experimenter. Another subject (in reality an experimental confederate) also arrived in the lab at the same time. The confederate was always of the same sex as the subject. Both the subject and the confederate were greeted in the same fashion by the experimenter and were taken to an area of the lab where numerous pieces of equipment had been placed. After seating the subject and confederate, the experimenter asked them whether they would be willing to return for an additional two experimental sessions after the first one had been completed. The confederate was first asked whether he or she was willing to return, and then the real subject was asked. Under somewhat similar circumstances Blake and Mouton (19S7) found that a naive subject was more
Ross NORMAN (1968). Subjects in each experiment were rank ordered in terms of the overall favorability implied by the weighted cognitive index and also on the basis of the affective index.1 Affective-cognitive consistency was denned as the discrepancy between the individual's position in the two rankings: The higher the absolute value of the discrepancy, the lower was the affective-cognitive consistency. In each study subjects were split at the median into a high- and low-consistency group.2 The correlation between the cognitive and affective scores for the high-consistency groups were, of course, highly significant (r = .87, .89, and .88, respectively, for the three studies, p < .01 in each case; whereas for the low-consistency subjects the correlations were nonsignificant (r = —.18, -.12, and -.04). Subjects holding extreme attitudes may be more likely to act in the manner implied by their stated attitudes than subjects who have less polarized attitudes. For this reason, it seemed desirable to compare the affective and cognitive scores for subjects who were classified as high (vs. low) in structural consistency. In all three studies the high- and lowconsistency groups did not differ significantly in terms of the means and standard deviations of their affective scores, cognitive scores, or an averaged affective/cognitive score (calculated after converting both scales to a common metric). Any differences in the predictive validity of their attitudes cannot, therefore, be due to differences in the extremity of their stated feelings or beliefs.
1 Some subjects wrote in on their questionnaire and rated on the appropriate scales goals which were not in the original list provided. The results reported include these extra goals; however, the pattern of results is not changed if the extra goals are not included in the cognitive index. 2 There are circumstances under which this may be a poor measure of discrepancy. For example, if a number of respondents gave highly positive responses on one scale and highly negative responses on the other, then individuals giving neutral responses on both scales would be scored as high in discrepancy. It might, therefore, be advantageous to use an index of consistency based on the difference between the deviations of scores on the two scales from their neutral midpoint. When this is done with the current data, the classification of subjects as high or low in consistency was very similar to that obtained using Rosenberg's index.
likely to volunteer when a confederate seated next to him agreed to do so than if the confederate refused. For half of the subjects the confederate's response was congruent with the subject's initial attitude (e.g., the confederate agreed to come back when the subject had stated a positive attitude as measured by the averaged affective-cognitive scale). For the other half of the subjects, the confederate's response was incongruent with their attitudes. Although the confederate's response was predetermined, the study was run using the experimental blind, so that during each session neither the experimenter nor the confederate knew whether the confederate's response was congruent or incongruent with the subject's attitude. The experimenter and confederate were also kept ignorant of whether any particular subject had shown high or low affective-cognitive consistency on the earlier attitude questionnaire. The main behavioral criterion in this third study was whether the subject agreed to come back for the additional sessions. It was, however, impractical to have all of the subjects who indicated they would come back actually do so. Thus, for most subjects who agreed to attend the additional sessions, an explanation of the deception and the true nature of the study was immediately given. In order to determine if signing up to come back involved a real behavioral commitment, 25 of the subjects who agreed to return were given a number of questionnaires to fill out in the lab and were then asked to come back at the later time they had indicated. Of the 25 subjects tested in this way, 23 actually did come back and were then debriefed. On this basis and because of the close correspondence between signing up for a study and actually showing up that was found in Experiments 1 and 2, we may conclude that the behavioral criterion used in this third experiment was of real consequence. When subjects were debriefed, they were asked whether they had been suspicious that there was deception involved in any aspect of their experience during the session. Eight subjects indicated having suspicions: Five said they were suspicious about the confederates, and three indicated suspicions about the request for them to come back for the extra sessions. These eight subjects were dropped from the sample, although their inclusion would not have had a significant impact on the results. Data from the two other subjects were discarded because they answered the volunteering request before the confederate. None of the subjects indicated being suspicious of a relation between the attitude questionnaire and the experimental session. No connection was implied by either the class instructor or the experimenter between the request for subjects and the earlier attitude questionnaire. Questioning of students in the classes after the studies were completed indicated that none of them had inferred any such connection.
RESULTS Affective-cognitive consistency was measured in the manner suggested by Rosenberg
ATTITUDES, CONFORMITY, AND BEHAVIOR
TABLE 1 CORRELATION OF ATTITUDE SCORES WITH VOLUNTEERING BEHAVIOR
Study 2 Attitude component Study 1 (« = 26} Test 1 (n - 53) Test 2 (n = 39) Study 3 (n = 117)
All subjects Affective Cognitive Affective-cognitive High-consistency subjects Affective Cognitive Affective-cognitive Low-consistency subjects Affective Cognitive Affective-cognitive
* p < .05. **P <.01.
.15 .21 .18
(» = 14) .62*
.50** .37** (n = 26) .53** .50* .53** (n = 27) -.22 .51*
.31 .53** .47**
.23* .35** .25*
(n = 12) -.28 -.15 -.18
(n = 20) .53* .49* .51* (w = 19)
(n = 59) .47** .49** .44** (n = 58) -.04
Test oj Main Hypotheses: Relation of Attitudes to Behavior For the first two studies a composite index was used as the behavioral criterion. If a subject did not sign up to volunteer he was given a score of zero, if he signed up but did not come he was given a score of 1, and if he volunteered and showed up he was given a score of 2." Verbal agreement to return for the additional session was the behavioral measure in Experiment 3. The correlation between verbal attitude reports and behavior are presented in Table 1. In all three studies (for the moment ignoring the second questionnaire of Experiment 2) the affective index was found to be significantly stronger in its relation to behavior when consistent with the cognitive index than when there was inconsistency between the two (0 = 2.26, p<.05; z = 2.71, p < .01; z = 2.89, p < .01 for Experiments 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Concerning the results of the second questionnaire given in Experiment 2, the difference between high- and low-consistency subjects in the predictive validity of the affective index does not reach statistical significance (2 = .997, ns). This might be expected if
For Experiments 1 and 2 only the correlation between attitude and this composite behavioral index is reported. The pattern of results is the same, however, if point-biserial correlations are calculated with signing up to attend or actually attending the experimental sessions as the behavioral criterion.
there is an increase in cognitive-affective consistency for initially low-consistency subjects between the first and second administration of the questionnaire. In checking this possibility, it was found that while the cognitiveaffective correlation for low-consistency subjects was —.22 in the first testing, at the time of the second testing the correlation had increased to .37. Such a finding is compatible with Rosenberg's postulate that the assessment procedure may make affective-cognitive inconsistency salient to some subjects, resulting in a change in affect and/or cognition and the development of a better articulated attitude. In contrast to the supportive results obtained with the affective index, the effect of affective-cognitive consistency on the predictive validity of the cognitive measure appears less clear-cut. In Experiment 3, although the effect is in the predicted direction (a higher correlation with behavior for high-consistency respondents), it does not quite reach conventional levels of statistical significance (z = 1.29, p < .10, one-tailed). In the second study the difference between high- and lowconsistency respondents is negligible for both questionnaires (z = .048, .280); but in the third study the results are significantly in the predicted direction (z — 1.89, p < .05, onetailed). The results of the third study provide the strongest evidence in the set of experiments for the proposition that the consistency of cognition and affect influences the extent
Ross NORMAN to which the cognitive index can be used to predict behavior. The use of a longer affective scale in Experiment 3 may have resulted in a more reliable index of affect and therefore conceivably a more valid test of the hypotheses than in the first and second studies. At any rate, considering the suggestive results of Experiment 1 and the significant results of Experiment 3 there is reason to believe that affective-cognitive consistency may moderate the predictive validity of the cognitive as well as the affective scale. Results using an averaged affective-cognitive scale are also presented in Table 1. The difference in the predictive validity of this averaged score for high- and low-consistency subjects reaches a one-tailed probability level of .OS in Experiments 1 and 3 (z = 1.66 and 1.69, respectively); but it does not approach significance in Experiment 2 (z — 1.12 and .433 for the two testings). Attitude Stability The test-retest reliability of attitude toward volunteering was assessed on the 51 subjects in Experiment 2 who were present at both the first and second administration of the questionnaire. The results are presented in Table 2. For the high-consistency subjects the affective scale is, as predicted, more reliable (over time) than for low-consistency subjects (z = 3.11, p < .01). The cognitive index shows high stability for all subjects. On the whole, the effect of affective-cognitive consistency on the stabiltiy of the two indices parallels the findings with regard to the initial predictive validity of the scales in Experiment 2.
TABLE 2 TEST-RETEST RELIABILITY OF MEASURES OP ATTITUDE TOWARD VOLUNTEERING : SUBJECTS DIFFERING IN AFFECTIVE-COGNITIVE CONSISTENCY, STUDY 2
Subjects Affective index Cognitive index
TABLE 3 RELATION or CONFEDERATES AND SUBJECTS VOLUNTEERING FOR EXTRA SESSIONS, STUDY 3
Confederates' response Subject's response Volunteered Didn't volunteer
High affective—cognitive consistency subjects Volunteered Didn't volunteer
Low affective-cognitive consistency subjects Volunteered Didn't volunteer
22 8 9 19
All" High-consistency1" Low-consistency"
a n = 51. bn^ =• 25.
.60 .85 .32
.84 .86 .81
Conformity in Behavior Experiment 3 was also designed to test the hypothesis that subjects showing low consistency in their attitudes would conform more to the confederate's behavior than would high-consistency subjects. Table 3 summarizes the relationship between subjects' and confederates' responses to the request that they come back for the extra time. A 2 X 2 X 2 chi-square analysis was performed on Table 3 (Winer, 1962, pp. 629632). The three factors used were affectivecognitive consistency, confederate's response, and subject's response. There was a significant relation between the confederate's response and subject's response, x 2 (0 —8 - 02 > p < .005, indicating a definite overall conformity effect. If affective-cognitive consistency moderates subjects' tendency to conform, we would also expect a significant three-way Consistency X Confederate's Response X Subjects' Response interaction. This interaction only approaches a .10 significance level, X 2 ( l ) =2.60. The considerations which led to the conformity hypothesis also lead us to expect that the low-consistency subjects will show greater conformity to the confederate than would high-consistency subjects only in those cases where the confederate's response was incongruent with the subjects' previously stated attitude. It is only when such incongruency exists that situational forces are presumably being pitted against stated attitude in the determination of behavior. Under such cir-
ATTITUDES, CONFORMITY, AND BEHAVIOR cumstances low-consistency subjects, because of their presumed uncertainty and vacuity, should be more likely than high-consistency subjects to follow the lead of the confederate. When the confederate's response is congruent with the subject's stated attitude, both situational and attitudinal pressures imply the same behavior, and there should therefore be a strong relation between the confederate's and subject's responses for all subjects regardless of whether they are acting primarily on the basis of their own attitude or conformity. The summary of data relevant to this conjecture is presented in Table 4. The relevant chi-square value for testing whether the difference in conformity between high- and low-consistency subjects is greater under conditions of incongruency than congruency again only approaches significance at the .10 level, X 2 ( l ) =2.35. Overall, the results of these analyses do not provide statistically significant support for the prediction that affective-cognitive consistency moderates conformity. However, because the results tend to approach significance, it might be advisable at this point to withhold a final conclusion on the validity of this hypothesis. Necessity of the Affective-Cognitive Distinction It might be argued that the distinction being made between the affective and cognitive components of attitude is meaningless or irrelevant. Both types of scales could be measuring the same aspect of attitude and the affective-cognitive consistency index might, according to this view, simply indicate the general reliability of the subjects' responses across a set of relatively homogeneous items. Consistent responding across test items has traditionally been considered an important index of test reliability and might plausibly facilitate accurate behavioral predictions. However, the theory underlying the current research assumes that the consistency between the affective and cognitive responses (considering the two as conceptually separate) gives more information about the predictive potential of verbal attitudes than would an index of reliability based on a random division of items. In order to check this assumption, in
TABLE 4 SUBJECTS' TENDENCY TO CONFORM TO CONFEDERATE'S RESPONSE UNDER CONDITIONS OF CONGRUENCY AND INCONGRUENCY, STUDY 3
Subject's response High-consistency subjects Low-consistency subjects
Congruent Conformed Didn't conform
Incongruent Conformed Didn't conform
11 17 19 9
Note. Congruency defined by relation of confederate's response to averaged affective/cognitive index.
each of the three studies subjects were classified as consistent or inconsistent in responding across randomly divided sets of scales (ignoring the affective-cognitive distinction). No significant differences in strength of the attitude-behavior relation or tendency to conform were found between subjects classified as high and low in consistency on the basis of random splits. This suggests that while affective-cognitive consistency is a concept with behavioral implications, in these studies overall consistency (based on random groupings of items) is not. Consistency: Issue Specific or Response Style? A subject who generally gives little thought to the responses he makes on an attitude questionnaire would probably score lower on our index of affective-cognitive consistency than one who gives more careful consideration to his responses. If such a general response style is substantially influencing the index of structural consistency, we might expect subjects to show significant correlations across issues in the amount of affectivecognitive consistency that they exhibit. In order to check for the possibility of such a general response style, in the second study affective and cognitive scales similar to those already described were developed and administered concerning two issues in addition to volunteering: (a) prohibition of cigarette smoking within classrooms and (b) a proposal that all students should be requested to take at least one psychology course in their program of studies. These additional scales
Ross NORMAN results obtained in the second study remain somewhat anomalous. In that study it was found that the predictive validity of cognition was not a function of its relation to affect. While the difference in this regard between the second and third studies might be explained by the use of different affective indices, such an explanation does not account for the somewhat different pattern of results between the first and second studies. In terms of design, the only difference between the latter two studies is the use of an attitude retest in the second. There is no apparent reason why such a difference in design should affect the overall validity of the cognitive scales; but a replication of the test-retest design using a multi-item measure of affect might help clarify some of the issues involved. Experiment 3 does not offer statistically significant support for the prediction that degree of affective-cognitive consistency affects the extent to which subjects will conform to others in behaviors that are relevant to the attitude issue. This hypothesis was derived from Rosenberg's (1968) suggestion that structural consistency is related to the certainty and involvement an individual feels with regard to an attitude issue. The failure to find a relation between the consistency index and self-rating of uncertainty or issue importance somewhat compromises this postulate. It may be that subjects found the meaning of the terms certain or important to be ambiguous in the context in which it was used, and the measure was therefore a poor one. Possibly other techniques of measuring certainty or involvement (e.g., the "own categories" technique suggested by Sherif & Sherif, 1967) may, in the future, be found to be related to affective-cognitive consistency. In the three experiments reported there was a 3-4 week delay between attitudinal and behavioral measures. This was done for two related reasons: (a) to minimize any experimental demand characteristics that would influence subjects' tendency to act in accord with their stated attitudes and (b) because the major challenge to attitude researchers appears to be the prediction of later behavior in situations at least somewhat different from the attitude measurement setting. However, the design used leaves some ambiguity as to whether the low predictive validity of the
were administered just once at the time of the second testing session. There was little relation between the affective-cognitive consistency that the individual respondents displayed in reacting to the various attitude issues. The correlations varied between —.20 and .18, none of them approaching statistical significance. Thus there is little evidence that the affectivecognitive consistency index is significantly influenced by general response style. Relation oj Affective-Cognitive Consistency to Other Self-Ratings Rosenberg (1968) suggested that degree of affective-cognitive consistency is associated with a subject's certainty and involvement concerning an attitude issue. In Experiment 3, however, no significant relation was found between subjects' affective-cognitive consistency and their ratings of certainty, issue importance, or how much thought they had given to the issue in the past (rs ranged between .03 and .14). Order of Scales In the questionnaire used in the first two studies the affective scale items preceded the items of the cognitive scale. Both possible orders were used in Experiment 3 to see if there would be greater consistency between reported beliefs and feelings using one sequence rather than the other. There was no evidence of a significant difference; the affective-cognitive correlation was .45 when the cognitive items preceded the affective scale and .54 when the reverse ordering was used. GENERAL DISCUSSION On the whole, the results are supportive of the hypotheses that the predictive validity of both cognitive and affective scales is moderated by affective-cognitive consistency. All three studies have shown the predictive validity of the affective scale to be a function of its consistency with an individual's belief structure. The strongly suggestive finding of the first study and the statistically significant evidence of the third study indicate that the strength of the relation between the cognitive scale and behavior is also a function of affective-cognitive consistency. For the moment, however, several of the
ATTITUDES, CONFORMITY, AND BEHAVIOR
quantitative analysis of social problems. Reading, stated attitudes of subjects showing low afMass.: Addison-Wesley, 1970. fective-cognitive consistency is simply a function of the instability of these attitudes over Corey, S. M. Professed attitudes and actual behavior. Journal of Educational Psychology, 1937, 28, 271time. The possibility exists that attitude mea280. sures for low-consistency subjects, while not Fishbein, M. Attitude and the prediction of behavior. In M. Fishbein (Ed.), Readings in attipredictive of future behavior, may predict tude theory and measurement. New York: Wiley, behavior displayed at about the same time as 1967. the attitude measure. Such a possibility re- Katz, D., & Stotland, E. A preliminary statement to mains to be investigated. There are, of course, a theory of attitude structure and change. In S. great difficulties in getting contemporaneous Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science (Vol. 3). New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959. attitude and behavior measures in credible Kernan, J. B., & Trebbi, G. C. Attitude-dynamics as circumstances that would not involve strong a hierarchical structure. Journal of Social Psyexperimental demand characteristics. chology, 1973, 89, 193-202. Despite these problems and unresolved Kothandapani, V. Validation of feeling, belief, and intention to act as three components of attitude, issues, the results of the present studies indiand their contribution to the prediction of contracate the value of assessing both the affective ceptive behavior. Journal of Personality and Soand cognitive components of an attitude becial Psychology, 1971, 19, 321-333. fore attempting to make behavioral predic- LaPiere, R. T. Attitudes vs. actions. Social Forces, tions. Consideration of affective-cognitive 1934, 13, 230-237. consistency is intended to supplement issues Newcomb, T. Individual systems of orientation. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science emphasized in most past research on the (Vol. 3). New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959. attitude-behavior relation. Such research has Osgood, C. E., Suci, C. J., & Tannenbaum, P. H. focused on the importance of other disposiThe measurement of meaning. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1957. tions and situational factors in addition to attitudes in the determination of behavior. Ostrom, T. M. The relationship between the affective, behavioral, and cognitive components of attitudes. These "other variables" approaches have Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1969, made an important contribution, but it seems 5, 12-30. probable that through consideration of the Rokeach, M. Beliefs, attitudes and values. San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 1968. structural characteristics of attitude, the preCognitive structure and diction of social behavior can be improved Rosenberg, M. J. of Abnormal and Socialattitudinal affect. Journal Psycholfurther. The most important contribution of ogy, 1956, S3, 367-372. the current research is in providing evidence Rosenberg, M. J. A structural theory of attitude dynamics. Public Opinion Quarterly, 1960, 24, 319that the importance of attitudinal factors in 341. the determination of behavior may be a func- Rosenberg, M. J. Hedonism, inauthenticity, and tion of the structural characteristics of the other goals toward expansion of a consistency theory. In R. P. Abelson et al. (Eds.), Theories of relevant attitudes. REFERENCES Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. Attitudinal and normative variables as predictors of specific behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1973, 27, 41-57. Bern, D. J. Beliefs, attitudes, and human affairs. Belmont, Calif.: Brooks/Cole, 1970. Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. The study of social conduct within the framework of adaptation-level theory. In M. Sherif & M. O. Wilson (Eds.), Emerging problems in social psychology. Norman: University of Oklahoma Book Exchange, 19S7. Carlson, E. R. Attitude change through modification of attitude structure. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1956, 52, 2S6-261. Converse, P. E. Attitudes and non-attitudes: Continuation of a dialogue. In E. R. Tufte (Ed.), The cognitive consistency: A sourcebook. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1968. Rosenberg, M. J., & Hovland, C. I. Cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of attitudes. In M. J. Rosenberg et al. (Eds.), Attitude organization and change. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1960. Sherif, M., & Sherif, C. W. The own categories procedure in attitude research. In M. Fishbein (Ed.), Readings in attitude theory and measurement. New York: Wiley, 1967. Triandis, H. C. Attitude and attitude change. New York: Wiley, 1971. Wicker, A. W. An examination of the "other variables" explanation of attitude-behavior inconsistency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1971, 19, 18-31. Winer, B. J. Statistical Principles in Experimental Design. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962.
(Received March 6, 1974)
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