DD307 OU Social Psychology - Attitudes

Ken Adams
Flashcards by Ken Adams, updated more than 1 year ago
Ken Adams
Created by Ken Adams almost 6 years ago


DD307 OU Social Psychology - Attitudes

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Question Answer
Allport (1935) definition 'a learned predisposition to respond to an object or class of objects in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way'
Eaagly & Chaiken (1993) definition 'attitude is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour'
Mainstream assumptions Attitudes are consistent & stable across time & context They're present before object encountered Can't be observed directly - inferred from resulting behaviour Questionnaire seen as good tool for investigation (based on definitions) Definitions imply attitudes are evaluative (+ve/=ve) - allows measurement using scale & quantitative analysis Definitions link attitude to an object & to what someone then does (behaviour)
Attitude models - 3 concepts Thought - cognitive Affect - emotion Behaviour - conation Main focus = behaviour
LaPiere (1934) 2 part study: field experiment & survey (cognitive social) Hotel & restaurant staff served Chinese people (1 exception) Subsequent survey responses indicated Chinese people wouldn't be served Challenged questionnaire responses - poor predictor of behaviour *But* questions were asking about hypothetical scenario - not real life Recommended observation of actual behaviour in social situations Little explanation of why prejudice towards Chinese
Ajzen (1988) Used summary of Manstead et al (1983) Likert scale questionnaire used Beliefs regarding breast or bottle feeding babies Statistical analysis generated numerical values of: - Ps belief ratings - Evaluation of behavioural outcomes - Mean normative beliefs & motivations to comply Researchers argued stats demonstrated relationship between attitude & behavioural factors posited by TRA
Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (1) Ajzen People do things they think will have +ve outcome And think people important to them (referents) wont disapprove of (Behavioural intention affected by attitude towards behaviour & subjective societal norms) Suggests behavioural beliefs influence attitude (if behaviour good then +ve attitude) If belief that referents would approve then feel social pressure to act that way
Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (2) Behaviour determined by beliefs Belief re consequence influences attitude towards it - therefore affects behavioural intention & behaviour itself Beliefs re referent expectations influence perceived/subjective norms - affects behavioural intention & behaviour itself
Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) Motivation may remain even if intention prevented (e.g. having kids) - leaves collaborating with someone else or (temporarily) abandoning plan Factors outside individual control may prevent behaviour (volitional v non-volitional) - control over behaviour on continuum Expands TRA Explains how behaviour affected by perceived behavioural control (how easy/hard to perform behaviour) Suggests: intention to behave is stronger if attitude & subjective norms favourable & if performing behaviour is perceived to be easy
Chapter commentary - summary of LaPiere and Ajzen LaPiere (1934) - How attitudes predict/determine behaviour? Are questionnaires a valid tool? (No) Concludes - attitude indicated by declared intention to act in particular way Ajzen (1988) Questionnaire based study Intention to do something relies on factors TRA - perceived value of action; perception by esteemed others TPB - (TRA) + ease of performing action Concludes - Attitude = numeric value based on factors that can be assigned numeric values (e.g. stat significance can predict behaviour/attitude)
Potter & Whetherell (1987) 'Unfolding discourse analysis' (1) Background Put social context ahead of individual attitude Questioned whether attitude & behaviour linked Asked if attitude is a mental state related to 'object of thought' Critical of mainstream quantitative approach Based on Marsh (1976) - survey of attitudes towards coloured immigrants (sympathetic => unsympathetic); turned results into scale of hostility & positivity
Potter & Whetherell (1987) 'Unfolding discourse analysis' (2) Initial issues with Marsh (1976) Marsh (1976) 3 issues: 1) loose definitions - no objective criteria re 'coloured immigrants' 2) transformations - no justification for changing scale to 'hostility' 3) stability - assumption of stable attitudes Discourse analysis (DA) different: Attitudes taken up in response to situation Avoid: -assuming existence of attitudinal objects -translating from actual responses to analyst's discourse -assuming attitudes expressed are permanent rather than contextual Looks at how texts are organised & what effect that organisation has
Potter & Whetherell (1987) 'Unfolding discourse analysis' (3) Marsh (1976) - methodological challenges 1) Context - required to fully understand P comments; cant assume question scale fully reports Ps attitude Discourse facilitates tasks: Contrast structures & conditionals in talk to help package message Normalise contentious opinions - use extreme case formulation Disclaimers - avoid criticism 2) Variability - discourse contains contradictions (makes hard to measure attitudes that are supposed to be stable!) Can result from different contexts Not problem for DA as main interest is what talk is used to do
Potter & Whetherell (1987) 'Unfolding discourse analysis' (4) Marsh (1976) - theoretical challenge Constitution - If object of thought not the same for different people... The suggestion that attitude is separate from the object of thought (e.g. TRA) makes no sense! Therefore cant compare 2 resulting attitudes
Potter & Whetherell (1987) 'Unfolding discourse analysis' (5) Marsh (1976) - DA answers to methodological & theoretical challenges To mitigate problems DA looks at how expressions are used in everyday language and what the effect is - not at underlying attitudes
Chapter conclusion DA - talk seen as social with attitudes constructed in talk (that cant be evaluated quantitatively in isolation) Talk is not an expression of internal mental states - it's what people *do* in/through talk that's important People don't generate 'new talk' - take up ideas & arguments from social context DA/DP - individual comprised of multiple selves that are generated by context Majority of attitude research still mainstream approach
Power relations Surveys don't deal with power directly => neglects how society is comprised of relationships between powerful & powerless Immigration & prejudice can only be understood in terms of meaning of 'nation', 'territory' and accepted ideas of 'us' & 'them' Bottle feeding understood in terms of historical relations of power between parents & industry, economics & politics
Individual-society dualism Mainstream attitude research assumes when people complete survey, they're unaffected by social context... Ignores way in which people DO respond to social context: May complete survey according to what they think is socially acceptable; Might wish to create a particular impression; May have a vested interested in affecting the research
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