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Attitude and Behaviour Essays

Revision Notes – Essay Plan – Attitude persuasion and attitude change. Introduction: Start with background on attitudes- -An attitude is a belief about something which is associated with a feeling about it and may also connect to a tendency to behave towards it in a certain way. The thing the attitude about is the attitude object. (From lecture slides). -Can have single component models of attitudes- emphasise importance of how people feel about attitude objects (i. e. attitudes are evaluative judgements). Can have multi component models- Most widely used- ABC model- suggests that an attitude has 3 components. Affective- feelings and emotions associated with the attitude. Behavioural- tendency to act in a certain way. Cognition- thoughts and beliefs about the attitude. An example an attitude about donating money to charity: (Don’t have to include). Affect: Positive feelings about it Cognition: A judgement that donating is good to do, beliefs about why Behaviour: Actually donating money to a specific charity.
If the essay is on persuasive communications (i. e. publicity campaigns/advertising that sort of thing) then talk about Hovland Yale Model (Hovland, Janis and Kelley 1953). -Success of such communication in changing attitudes and behaviour depends on factors concerning: * The communicator * The message * The medium * The audience Can go into as much detail as you want but here are some points for each: -Communicator person delivering message must have certain characteristics i. experts are more persuasive than non-experts (audience believes person must know what they are talking about), must be likeable (if we do not like them may reject them/message straight away), must speak rapidly (belief that audience assumes person must know what they are talking about if they put their view forward with such clarity to communicate so fast), gender (statistics show males more persuasive), similarity between communicator and audience (i. e Blair- shirtless sleeves, Cameron- “call me Dave”). – Message must be presented in certain ways i. 2 sided balanced argument (audience more inclined to listen to see which side wins), McGuire suggested 2 sided means audience become inoculated against later conflicting arguments i. e having arguments that weakly attack the favoured argument creates resistance to later conflicting arguments, fear arousal, mood (so put them in a good mood before delivering message). Repetition (reinforcement). -Medium most effective channel for message to be delivered? Depends on message. Can be through TV, face-to-face, newspaper, email etc. Face to face is seen to be effective because message can be tailored to fit audience. Audience type of audience needs to be considered when message is being structured. Difference audience attributes (i. e. personality, gender, intelligence) effect how much audience is persuaded. Intelligence may mean audience understands the message but more likely to disagree with it because they can pick out bad points. Also statists show females tend to be more persuadable than males. Evidence to support Hovland Yale Model: Don’t need to include all or even any just thought I’d include them just in case. -Meyerowitz and Chaiken (1987)- Looked at role of fear in female Uni students.
Put them in 3 conditions where they received a leaflet on breast self-examination. Group 1 = loss condition, leaflets emphasised negative effects of not self-examining. Group 2= positive effects of self-examining. Group 3= just included facts. Found that only group 1 who were exposed to most fear changed their attitudes and behaviour. Hence, supports impact of fear content from Hovland Yale model. – Sorokin & Baldyreff (1980)- shows importance of credibility of source. Showed participants 2 pieces of classical music both exactly the same. Told them that one had been judged slightly better by a music critic. 6% agreed music pieces were different and 56% agreed with alleged opinion of music critic. -Another model to explain impact of persuasive communications is the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM). Dual process model with two specific routes to attitude change. Central route where a lot of thought and effort it put ino argument. If favourable thoughts are a result of the elaboration then message likely to be accepted. Attitude change tends to be permanent. Peripheral route- involves minimal cognitive effort, cues and shortcuts used e. g. catchy slogans, physical attractiveness.
The connections between attitudes and behaviour. Is behaviour determined by attitudes? If it is then it can be possible to change ones behaviour through changing their attitudes and this can be used to tackle urgent social problems. -However, a study conducted by LaPiere (1934) identified that there is a strange disassociation between what people say and what they actually do. Longitudinal study, spent 2 years travelling the US with a couple of Chinese ethnicity. During the 2 years visited 251 hotels/restaurants and were only turned away from one.
At the end posted a survey to each establishment asking the question “would you be willing to accept a couple of Chinese ethnicity? ” Out of the ones that replied 92% said no. seminal in establishing the gap between our attitudes and behaviour as the attitudes were quite anti-social by saying they would not be willing to accept a Chinese couple, whereas the behaviours were actually quite pro social in that they did accept them. -Wicker (1969) further supported this disassociation. He conducted a meta analysis of 42 experiments and then included an observation of related behaviours.
He found that the average correlation between attitudes and behaviour was approximately 0. 15 with the highest correlation being 0. 30. -However, Campbell (1963) argued that there are reasons for this discrepancy between attitudes and behaviour. This is because there is a hierarchy of ease of expression of the components of an attitude. For example, verbal expressions ten d to be easiest to make (especially when in a letter). Behavioural expressions are hardest to make (especially when in a crowd where there are certain social pressures or norms as people tend to follow norms even if it goes against their attitudes). Attitude strength can affect the relationship between attitudes and behaviours. The stronger the attitude is held, for example attitudes from direct experience tend to be stronger, the more likely it is to influence behaviour. -Examples to support this include Radical- Until- Graduation (RUG) which refers to university students who declare radical political attitudes whilst at university but change to more conservative attitudes near to and after graduation in order to maximise job opportunities. ‘Not in my back yard’- NIMBY. This refers to opposition of residents to a proposal for a new development chosen close to where they live, where that development is thought to produce the most benefits and where those residents would approve to it if it were sited in ‘someone else’s back yard’. -This inconsistency between what people say and what people do has led to more and more complex models and theories that put more information into the decision making process and more variables into the picture.
This has led to the Expectency Value models of attitude behaviour links. There are two of these: -One was introduced by Ajzen and Fishbein (1978) which was the theory of reasoned action. This components of TRA are behavioural intention, attitudes and subjective norms. This suggests that a person’s behaviours intention depends on their attitudes towards the behaviour and subjective norms. If a person intends to carry out behaviour they are likely to do it.
So in simple terms a person’s behaviour is predicted by their attitude towards that behaviour and how other people will view them if they perform that behaviour. -The other was introduced by Ajzen and Madden (1984). This is linked to the TRA however the TRA takes no account of the extent to which performing the behaviour is under the individual’s control. Behavioural intention does not always lead to actual behaviour. The TPB adds perceived behavioural control to the TRA which takes into account the extent to which a person believes it is easy or difficult to carry out a behaviour.

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