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Attitudes - Attitude Formation

Dr. Kiran B. Ahmad, Assistant Professor, Institute of Professional Psychology.

Source

Myers, D.G. (2014). Social Psychology,

11 th Edition. McGraw Hill. International

Edition. p. 45, 49, 84 and pp 120 -

123

Wondering aloud… Hazel Markus vs

Shinobu Kitayama. E.g.s: Discussions in class, ordering dinner and the ordinary path

Wondering aloud… Hazel Markus vs Shinobu Kitayama. E.g.s: Discussions in class, ordering dinner and the ordinary
Wondering aloud… Hazel Markus vs Shinobu Kitayama. E.g.s: Discussions in class, ordering dinner and the ordinary

Defining attitudes: A favorable or unfavorable evaluative reaction toward something or someone (often rooted in one’s beliefs, and exhibited in one’s feelings and intended behavior).

Timothy Wilson and colleagues (1985, 2002)

The mental processes that control our social behavior are distinct from the mental processes through which we explain our behavior.

The fallacy of analysing our feelings (good or bad e.g. dating) vs saying what we are feeling (level of happiness in a relationship)

Dual attitude system

Wilson: “implicit attitudes, like old habits, change more slowly.”

Dual attitude system • Wilson: “implicit attitudes, like old habits, change more slowly.” • Implicit attitudes

Implicit attitudes (automatic) Explicit attitudes (consciously controlled)

From childhood, for example, we may retain a habitual, automatic fear or dislike of people for whom we now consciously verbalize respect and appreciation.

Reconstructing our past attitudes

People whose attitudes have changed often insist that they have always felt much as they now feel.

Daryl Bem and Keith McConnell (1970) conducted a survey among Carnegie Mellon University students. Buried in it was a question concerning student control over the university curriculum.

A week later, the students agreed to write an essay opposing student control. After doing so, their attitudes shifted toward greater opposition to student control. When asked to recall how they had answered the question before writing the essay, the students “remembered” holding the opinion that they now held and denied that the experiment had affected them.

Rosy Retrospection

Terence Mitchell, Leigh Thompson, and colleagues (1994, 1997): recall mildly pleasant events more favorably than they experienced them

Rosy Retrospection • Terence Mitchell, Leigh Thompson, and colleagues (1994, 1997): recall mildly pleasant events more
Rosy Retrospection • Terence Mitchell, Leigh Thompson, and colleagues (1994, 1997): recall mildly pleasant events more

Love grows or fades?

Cathy McFarland and Michael Ross (1985) found that as our relationships change, we also revise our recollections of other people. They had university students rate their steady dating partners. Two months later, they rated them again.

Students who were more in love than ever had a tendency to overestimate their first impressions —it was “love at first sight.” Those who had broken up were more likely to underestimate their earlier liking—recalling the partner as

How well do our attitudes predict our behaviour?

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Carrying on Wicker’s work

Student attitudes toward cheating bore little relation to the likelihood of their actually cheating.

Attitudes toward the church were only modestly linked with worship attendance on any given Sunday.

The disjuncture between attitudes and actions is what Daniel Batson and his colleagues (1997, 2001, 2002; Valdesolo & DeSteno, 2007, 2008) call “moral hypocrisy”. appealing task with a possible $30 prize and a dull task with no rewards. Only 1

Implicit Bias

A newer and widely used attitude measure, the implicit association test (IAT) , uses reaction times to measure how quickly people associate concepts (Greenwald & others, 2002, 2003).

Example: One can, for example, measure implicit racial attitudes by assessing whether White people take longer to associate positive words with Black faces than with White faces. Implicit attitude researchers have offered various IAT assessments online (projectimplicit.net).

Characteristics of implicit bias

Implicit biases are pervasive. For example, 80 percent of people show more implicit negativity toward the elderly compared with the young.

People differ in implicit bias. Depending on their group

memberships, their conscious attitudes, and the bias in their immediate environment some

People are often unaware of their implicit biases. Despite thinking themselves unprejudiced, even the researchers exhibit some implicit biases (negative associations with various social groups).