Attitudes (Ambra)

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Chapter 8 Psychology

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Attitudes (Ambra)

Annotations:

  • an evaluation a person makes about an object person, group event or issue
1 Tri-component
1.1 La Pierre "Attitudes and Behaviours" 1934

Annotations:

  • http://www.psychlotron.org.uk/resources/social/AS_AQB_social_attitudes_lapiere.pdf
1.2 Affective

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  • emotional reactions or feelings an individual has towards an object, person, group, event or issue.
1.3 Behavioural

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  • the way in which an attitude is expressed through our actions.
1.4 Cognitive

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  • the beliefs we have about an object, person, group, event or issue. Our beliefs are linked to what we   know about the world. They develop as a result of our experience   throughout the course of our lives.
2 Attitudes and Behaviours

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  • There are many factors that influence whether attitudes and behaviour will be consistent. Sometimes the A & C components can be inconsistent to the B component
2.1 Strength

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  • a strong attitude is usually thought about, well known and easily accessable. It tends to be personally relevant and has a strong, underlying emotional component
2.2 Accessability

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  • a strong attitude that easily comes to mind; that is, it has been thought about, is well known and is stored in memory ready for use
2.3 Social Conext

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  • whether an attitude leads to an actual behaviour may be dependant on the social context or the specific situation in which a person finds themselves in. In some cases, the situation may 'dominate' or 'overpower', the affective and cognitive components of an attitude someone holds
2.4 Perceived Control Over the Behaviour

Annotations:

  • attitudes and behaviours are more likely to match when people percieve that they have control over the behaviour that may be triggered by their attitude. Percieved control is the belief an individual has that they are free to preform or not preform behaviour linked to an attitude and a belief that they can actually preform the behaviour
3 Cognitive Dissonance

Annotations:

  • If we are aware of inconsistencies within our attitudes, or when the wya in which we actually behave is different from the way we should behave, then we can experience psychological tension or discomfort. This experience is called cognitive dissonance. (see next note for more info)
  • Festinger believed that people will choose the easiest course of action to reduce or avoid dissonance. This can often mean changing our attitudes. Sometimes, however, people make no attempt to reduce or avoid dissonance. This may occur because they can tolerate some level of dissonance, particularly if the conflict is not too strong.     
3.1 Changing the Attitude

Annotations:

  • We avoid the unpleasant feelings of cognitive dissonance by changing our attitude. E.g. You might absolutely adore your boyfriend or girlfriend but if they leave you for someone else, dissonance may occur. To reduce or avoid psychological discomfort you might say that it was only a crush and you are glad it is over.   Similarly, if you are rejected for a job interview you may conclude that the job was not what you really  wanted anyway.  
3.2 Changing the Behaviour to Suit the Attitude

Annotations:

  • E.g. If you hold the attitude that sport is necessary to maintain good health yet do not play any sport, you could reduce dissonance by changing your behaviour and taking up basketball, hockey or another sport.    
3.3 Reducing the Importance Given to out Attitudes and Behaviours

Annotations:

  • E.g. As an example of reducing the importance given to our attitudes and behaviour, one might say, ‘playing strenuous sport is not such a good idea and I probably get enough exercise in daily activities anyway’     
3.4 Add New Elements to the Situation to Support our Belief in the Attitude or Behaviour

Annotations:

  • Using the previous example of not playing sport, one might say that they don't play sport because they have a bad back, or a bad knee. Hence, they add a new element to the situation.
4 Attitude Formation

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  • We are not born with out attitudes; they are formed and usually develop over a long period of time through the process of learning
4.1 Classical Conditioning

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  • A simple form of learning that occurs through repeated association of two different stimuli. ( A stimulus is an event which may trigger a response) E.g. a soft drink add showing young, attractive people having fun using the neutral object (the drink) to try and create positive associations with it  ALSO: The emotional component of attitudes can be formed through classical conditioning. For example, in a billboard ad, a clothing company pairs a sweater with an attractive model who elicits a pleasant emotional response. This can make people form a positive attitude about the sweater and the clothing company.
4.2 Operant Conditioning

Annotations:

  • A kind of learning that is based on the assumption that we tend to repeat behaviour which has a desirable consequence or result (e.g. a reward) and tend not to repeat behaviour  which has an undesirable consequence or result (e.g. a punishment)  A reinforcement is any event which strengthens a response or increases the likelihood of a particular response coming again e.g. a child will feel more inclined to follow her family's football team if her family buys her a football scarf/hat etc. ALSO: If someone gets a positive response from others when she expresses an attitude, that attitude will be reinforced and will tend to get stronger. On the other hand, if she gets a negative response from others, that attitude tends to get weaker.
4.3 Modelling

Annotations:

  • This occurs someone uses observation of another person's action and their consequences to guide their future thoughs, feelings or behaviours. The person being observed is referred to as a model. We tend to modify or adopt attitudes particularly from those we admire or respect. E.g if a child sees a person littering, and there is no visible consequence, they are likely to mirror this behaviour ALSO: Seeing others display a particular attitude and watching people be reinforced for expressing a particular attitude can make someone adopt those attitudes.
4.4 Repeated Exposure

Annotations:

  • By simply being exposed to an object, perosn, group, event or issue repeatedly, an attitude can form. Some personal experience, either direct or indirect, must accompany this. E.g. we can increase our liking of a specific race by merely being repeatedly exposed to them (the mere exposure effect)
5 Attitudes Towards People

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  • When we meet someone for the first time we make an initial evaluation of them, and this tends to stick - this is called the primary effect
5.1 Sherif's "Robber's Cave Experiment" 1956

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5.2 Stereotyping

Annotations:

  • a collection of beliefs that we have about the people who belong to a certain group, regardless of the individual differences among members of that group. Stereotyping can lead to prejudice, which can in turn result in discrimination.
5.2.1 Stigma

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  • a negative label associated with disapproval or rejection by others who are not labelled in that way.    
5.2.2 Prejudice

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  • a negative attitude that is held towards the members of a group, based solely on their membership of that group. Prejudice often involves members of a majority group holding negative attitudes towards the members of a minority group.
5.2.2.1 Majority/Minority Groups

Annotations:

  • Members of a majority group are greater in number and are sometimes described as the ‘ingroup’, whereas members of a minority group are fewer in number and are sometimes described as the ‘outgroup’. FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF PREJUDICE: The majority group believe... 1. they are superior to the minority group 2. the minority group are different and do not belong 3. they are more powerful and more important than the minority group 4. that displaying prejudiced attitudes will obscure their insecurity and fear that the minority group will become more powerful
5.2.2.2 Old-Fashioned/Modern Prejudice

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  • Old-fashioned prejudice is more open and blatant  discriminatory behaviour is shown, whereas modern prejudice lacks the behaviour that is consistent with the attitude 
5.2.2.3 Discrimination

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  • positive or negative behaviour that is directed towards a social or specific group or its members.  (Prejudice = belief/feelings; discrimination = action/behaviour)
5.2.2.3.1 Direct/Indirect Discrimination

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  • Direct: occurs when someone is treated unfairly and is disadvantaged because of a personal characteristic  Indirect: occurs when treating everyone the same way disadvatanges someone because of a personal characteristic
5.2.2.4 Jane Elliot "A Class Divided" 1968

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  • http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/etc/script.html
5.2.2.5 Fundamental Attribution Error

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  • when people tend to overestimate  the influence of personal characteristics and underestimate the influence of the situation they are in when explaining people's behaviour
5.2.2.6 Just World Hypothesis

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  • The tendency for individuals to believe that they live in a world where people generally get what they deserve and deserve what they get
5.3 Factors That May Reduce Prejudice
5.3.1 Inter-Group Contact

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  • By increasing direct contact between two groups prejudice can be reduced. However, it is more likely that prejudice will be reduced if there is sustained contact, mutual independence, super ordinate goals and equality of status. 
5.3.1.1 Sustained Contact

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  • Close, prolonged contact of a fairly direct nature leads to a re-evaluation of incorrect stereotypes about the other group and its members, thereby reducing intergroup stereotyping and prejudiced
5.3.1.2 Mutual Independence

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  • if two rival groups who dislike and who are prejudiced against each other are placed in a contact situation in which they are dependent on each other (mutually independent) there is a greater likelihood that the rivalry and negative stereotypes can be broken down, thereby reducing the negative attitudes the groups had about each other
5.3.1.3 Super Ordinate Goals

Annotations:

  • A goal that cannot be achieved by anyone group alone and overrides other exsisting goals, which each group might have.
5.3.1.4 Equality Of Status

Annotations:

  • The groups must have equal status in the contact situations. If one group is percieved as being more important or better in someway that is valued by the other group, then the "more important group" would be classified as having a higher status than the "less important" group, which would be classified as having lower status. Furthermore, you only feel you can achieve something if you have equal power, and if not it does not reduce prejudice.
5.3.2 Cognitive Interventions

Annotations:

  • Involves changing the way in which someone thinks about prejudice. If people are aware of the harmful effects of prejudice, they are then in a position to be able to do something about it. When they understand where prejudice comes from and how to reduce iot, they have the knowledge to do something about it. 
6 Measurement of Attitudes

Annotations:

  • Psychologists use two main approaches to assessing or measuring attitudes. One approach involves observing people's behaviour and the other involves asking the participant to tell the researcher about their attitudes.
6.1 Observational Studies

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  • Watching and describing behaviour as it occurs
6.1.1 Advatnages

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  • >Observation allows ofr the beahviour to be true, as no one knows they are being observed >Flexible research procedures which can be adjusted to suit the tpoic of the research interest > It is unobtrusive, so it ensures the participants do not realise their attitudes are being measured > Provides data about attitudes which researchers might not be able to obtain through other measures
6.1.2 Disadvantages

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  • > A person's behaviour does not always reflect how a person thinks or feels about something  > Difficulties measuring the strength of an attitude  > Incorrect inferences 
6.2 Self-Report Methods

Annotations:

  • Self-reports are written or spoken answers to questions or statements presented by the researcher (see note 2)
  • Data based on self-reports are called subjective data. This can given valuable infomation about an individual's attitude, assuming that they are honest. This data can be both qualitative and also quantitative
6.2.1 Questionnaires

Annotations:

  • A written set of questions
6.2.2 Surveys

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  • A set of open-ended questions used to collect data from a large number to people
6.2.3 Interviews

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  • Is usually a face to face discussion between a researcher and an individual for the purpose of obtaining detailed information 
6.2.4 Rating Scales

Annotations:

  • Rating scales typically provide a series of fixed-response questions or statements about different aspects of an attitude to which the respondents indicate the extent of their agreement or disagreement. This enables the researcher to explore an attitude more thoroughly than by using other measures. Rating scales can be used to accurately measure the  > direction (whether people are in favour or against)> strength (how strongly people react) 
6.2.4.1 Likert Scale

Annotations:

  • A Likert scale is one of the most widely used rating scales and focuses on measuring the direction of an attitude.   It generally consists of questions or statements about an attitude, to which respondents indicate their degree of agreement or disagreement on a five-point scale.     
6.2.5 Free Response

Annotations:

  • These are open-ended questions, which are questions that require respondents to describe their attitudes freely in their own words  (qualitative)
6.2.5.1 Advantages

Annotations:

  • > Enables research participants to provide detailed repsonse without be restricted to providing answers that fit into specified categories > Enables the researcher to ask questions of clarification or follow-up questions, as participants give information about their attitudes
6.2.5.2 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • > Anwers can be difficlaut to summarise or score, therefore making it harder for researchers to statistically describe an interpret that data obtained > Participants could not be truthful in their responses, in the hope that their answers portray how they would like to be perceived rather than who they actually are 
6.2.6 Fixed Response

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  • Closed questions which enable quantitative data to be collected. They usually provide a respondent with a number of fixed alternative answers to choose from. (quantitative)
6.2.6.1 Advantages

Annotations:

  • > Enables the researcher to acturately and concisely summarise the responses in the form of quantitative data. This makes them easier to interpret.
6.2.7 Advantages

Annotations:

  • > Can be administered to a large number of people
6.2.8 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • > Cannot be used with young children, illerate adults, people from non-english speaking backgrounds and some intellectually disabled or mentally ill people > May not be accurate > Participants may not remember clearly what they actually experienced > Participants may misunderstand the question > Often are time consuming to complete  > Social Desirability: where people may give false or misleading answers to create a favourable impression of themselves

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