Attitudes & Behavior

November 9, 2006

Do Attitudes Determine Behavior?
An underlying assumption in persuasion research is: Shift a person’s attitude in the right direction and behavior will follow. Examples: 1. If people see the value of wearing their seatbelt then they are more likely to actually wear it. 2. If people think that smoking is bad for their health then they will quit.

what is the psychological process? . how strong is it? When might such a relationship exist? How do attitudes influence behavior? In other words. if so.Basic Questions    Is there a relationship between attitudes and behavior and.

Instructor also graded the exam.  Classic Study of Cheating        Relationship between attitude toward cheating and actually cheating close to zero. Meta-analysis of attitude studies showed less than . Relationship between attitudes toward cheating and actual cheating behavior. Students took True-False exam then asked to assign themselves a score.30 correlation between attitudes and behavior. Those who did poorly more likely to cheat.Do Attitudes Predict Behavior? Yes. . Discrepancy between student’s self-assigned score and instructor’s score was measure of cheating behavior. but not strongly.

I acted 5 6 7 .Attitude-Behavior Survey 1. 3. 7. Important 100 80 60 40 20 0 1 2 3 4 Yes. 5. Students should read Homelessness is a problem I should exercise I should recycle I should designate a driver I should vote Should change strategy to fight terrorism Yes. 4. 6. 2.

specific) Person (Who is being asked) Situation (When and how are they being asked?) Attitude (How was the attitude formed?) .When do attitudes predict behavior?    Are there factors that make attitudes more or less predictive of behavior? 4 Factors that Impact the Relationship: Qualities of the…     Behavior (General vs.

Behavior Being Predicted    Attitudes and behaviors must be measured at the same level of specificity. . Specific attitudes will predict specific behaviors. Example: A person’s attitude toward their general health will not predict their propensity to jog.

A low self monitor behaves the same way across situations. Example: High Self Monitors    A high self monitor changes their behavior depending on the situation.Person You Ask   Certain peoples’ attitudes are more consistent with their behaviors than others. Are you a high self monitor? The behavior of low self monitors is consistent with their expressed attitudes. .

   Example: People who hate their jobs will still go to work because of normative and financial incentives.Situation in Which You Ask Them   Whether attitudes predict behavior may depend on the context in which you ask the question. Question: How many people would show up if I made one class “optional”? . Attitudes toward work predict attendance when obligation to attend is removed. Norms can be so strong that it is unlikely that overt behavior will reflect private attitudes.

Additional Situational Factors  itudes are more predictive of behavior when:    People have a vested interest in the issue.  Situations can be changed to make attitudes more predictive. When situational cues make Attyour attitude salient (a focus of attention). . When people are under time pressure.

Why do think this is the case? How can job attitudes become more predictive of behavior at work?  Recent study shows that happy workers don’t make firms more successful.Job Satisfaction and Performance    Studies have shown consistently that happy workers are not necessarily more productive. but successful firms make their employees happier. .

How do Attitudes Actually Predict Behavior?   Two theoretical models that explain why attitudes predict behavior.  Attitude-To-Behavior Process Model  . Theory relevant when behavior is a spontaneous reaction to one’s immediate situation. Theory of Reasoned Action:  Theory relevant when the behavior is thoughtfully planned in advance.

Planned Behavior .

Decision to Protest Parking Lot  Attitude Formation:  Saving trees is important to me.  Social Pressure:   Result: I intend to protest and my intention will result in action. Environmental protests are effective. . My friends are going to protest and they might not talk to me if I don’t.

Decision to Stay Home  Attitude Formation:  Protests never work and there are enough trees in Ithaca anyway. My friends think protesting is stupid and they will think I am weird if I go.  Social Pressure:   Result:  I intend to stay home. .

.Spontaneous Behavior    Sometimes people’s attitudes will result in a spontaneous (unplanned) behavior. Example: If you hate cockroaches then you don’t have to think about what to do when you see one. Reason: Some attitudes are more accessible (memorable) than others.

. If the attitude is not memorable than it will impact our behavior only when recalled. If the attitude is memorable than it will have an immediate impact on our behavior.Attitude Accessibility    Attitudes guide our interpretation of an object or a situation.

” .Attitude Change Through Priming Title: ILR (Development/Recovery) Exercise Instructions: “A recent external audit revealed that ILR has been (improving/declining) as an institution over the last decade. please list all of the ways that the administration can (keep/get) ILR moving in the right direction. In other words. As a group. the audit was vague as to why this (improvement/decline) might be occurring. list all of the things you (like/dislike) about ILR. However.

10) With the variety of courses offered at ILR (p < .05) That they are receiving a high quality education at ILR (p < .Satisfaction with ILR  Student who were randomly assigned to think about things they didn’t like about ILR were also less satisfied:     With the academic resources at ILR (p < .05 That ILR has helped them prepare for career after college (p < .10) .

People take credit for their success but attribute failure to external/situational factors.Self Serving Bias    On average. people believe that they are above average. . Egocentric bias in groups such that each person believes they contributed more than any other person.

9 weak statements. p < .37.Satisfaction with Yourself More Negative Even More Positive  On average you listed 6. 4.01 . t (45) = 4.5 strong statements vs.

In Sum     In general. However. it is possible to strengthen this link. Make attitude memorable. Combine attitude with social pressure. . the relationship between attitude and behavior is weak.

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