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Attitude Formation and Change

What is an attitude?
A learned predisposition to respond to an object or a class of objects in a consistently favorable or unfavorable way.
Attitudes are relatively enduring. Attitudes are situation-related.

Functions of Attitudes
Utilitarian function
Ego-defensive function Knowledge function Value-expressive function

How do we form attitudes?

Three different paths to attitude formation:
Attitudes are created by first creating beliefs.
Consumer beliefs are the knowledge that a consumer has about objects, their attributes, and the benefits provided by the objects. Consumer beliefs are created by processing information--cognitive learning.

Forming Attitudes, continued

Attitudes are created directly.
Behavioral learning Mere exposure

Attitudes are created by first creating behaviors.

Consumers respond to strong situational or environmental forces, and after engaging in the behavior, form attitudes about the experience.

Structural Model of Attitude

Tricomponent Attitude Model

Tricomponent Model
Cognitive component
The knowledge and perceptions that are acquired by a combination of direct experience with the attitude object and related information from various sources.

Affective component
The emotions or feelings associate with a particular product or brand.

Conative component
The likelihood or tendency that an individual will undertake a specific action or behave in a particular way with regard to the attitude object.

Measurement Models of Attitude

Multiattribute model
Fishbein and Azjen Measures attitude score using consumers beliefs and evaluations about attributes of the attitude object.
Several different contexts in which attitude scores are measured.
Attitude-toward-the-object model Attitude-toward-the-behavior model

Multiattribute Model
Aj = BijIi
i = attribute or product characteristic j= brand

Such that:
A = the consumers attitude score for brand j I = the importance weight given to attribute i by the consumer B = the consumers belief as to the extent to which a satisfactory level of attribute i is offered by brand j

Understanding the Multiattribute Model

All relevant product attributes, based on consumers perceptions, need to be included in the model to provide dimensionality.
Even though there may be several relevant attributes, they are not generally equally important. The importance weight of the formula allows adjustment of the importance of each attribute individually.

Understanding the Multiattribute Model...

Beliefs represent the extent to which each product offers satisfaction for the attribute in question.
Compensatory model.

Advantages of Multiattribute Model

Clearly shows what is important to consumers about a given product. Shows how well brands do relative to each other. Shows how well a specific brand does with respect to attributes perceived as important to consumers.

Weakness of Multiattribute Model

Not a perfect predictor of consumer behavior Lots of variables determine behavior in addition to attitude:
Involvement Friends Family Financial resources Availability of product

Theory of Reasoned Action

Extends multiattribute model; tries to compensate for the inability of the multiattribute model to predict behavior. Assumes that consumers consciously consider the consequences of alternative behaviors under consideration and choose the one that leads to the most desirable consequences. The outcomes of this reasoned choice process is an intention to engage in a selected behavior--behavioral intention.

Theory of Reasoned Action

B~BI = Aact(w1) + SN(w2)
B BI = a specific behavior = consumers intention to engage in that behavior Aact = consumers attitude toward engaging in that behavior SN = subjective norm regarding whether other people want the consumer to engage in that behavior w1 & w2 = weights that reflect the relative influence of the Aact and SN components on BI

Simplified Version
Beliefs that the behavior leads to certain outcomes Evaluation of the outcomes Beliefs that specific referents think I should or should not perform the behavior Motivation to comply with the specific referents

Attitude toward the behavior Intention Behavior

Subjective Norm

Comparing A vs. Aact

Car (A)
Moderately priced (+) Ordinary (-) Well-built (+) Dependable (+) Easily serviced (+)

Buying a New Car this Year (Aact)

Gives me a mode of transportation (+) Will put me in financial difficulty (-) Will lead to high upkeep costs (-) Will cost more now than later (-) Will lead to high insurance rates (-)

Attitude-toward-the-Ad Model
Very specific to understanding the impact of advertising on consumer attitudes about a particular product or brand.
Exposure to advertising affects attitudetoward-the ad and attitude-toward-the brand.

Attitude-toward-the-Ad Model
Very specific to understanding the impact of advertising on consumer attitudes about a particular product or brand. Exposure to advertising directly affects beliefs about the ad and brand, and feelings about the ad. Exposure to advertising indirectly affects attitude toward the brand and attitude toward the ad.

Exposure to ad

Judgments about the ad (cognition)

Feelings from the ad (affect)

Beliefs about the brand

Attitude toward the ad

Attitude toward the brand

How Can Marketers Change Attitudes?

Alter components of multiattribute model
Increase belief ratings for the brand Increase the importance of a key attribute Decrease the importance of a weak attribute Add an entirely new attribute Decrease belief ratings for competitive brands

Changing attitudes.
Change beliefs and attitudes through persuasion Elaboration likelihood model of persuasion (ELM)

Motivation to Elaborate

Ability to Elaborate


Amount of Elaboration


Central Route to Persuasion

Message Arguments Determine persuasion

Peripheral Route to Persuasion

Peripheral Cues Determine persuasion

Central route
Communication (source,message, channel) Attention and comprehension

High-involvement processing

Cognitive responses

Belief and attitude change

Behavior change

Peripheral route

Low-involvement processing

Belief change

Behavior change

Attitude change

Changing attitudes...
Changing attitudes directly though behavior
Cognitive Dissonance Theories
Balance Theory Social Judgment Theory

Attribution Theory

Balance Theory
Consumers strive for consistency between interconnected attitudes. Marketers can influence attitudes by creating imbalance within the target of persuasion-motivates consumer to change one or more of the interconnected attitudes to restore balance.

Social Judgment Theory

Consumers use attitudes as a frame of reference to judge new information. If high involvement:
Narrow latitude of acceptance Wide latitude of rejection Assimilation effect Contrast effect

If low involvement:
Wide latitude of acceptance Wide latitude of noncommitment

Attribution Theory
Consumers make inferences about behaviors, assign causality--blame or credit--to events on the basis of their or others behaviors. In the process of assigning causality, form attitudes. Marketing implications:
Offer high quality products Advertising should emphasize quality. Moderate-sized incentives.