Behavior and Attitudes

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Behavior and Attitudes
Attitude Survey
1=SD 2=D 3=Neither 4=A 5=SA
Engaging in exercise 3 times a wk promotes good health
Eating a variety of foods each day, including five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, contributes to wellness. It is essential that all citizens exercise their right to vote if government is to effectively reflect the will of the people. Attitude Survey

1=SD 2=D 3=Neither 4=A 5=SA
Homelessness is a serious social problem that needs attention. Behavior Survey
Yes or No
I take time to engage in regular exercise at least 3 times per wk. I regularly eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. I voted in the last election for which I was eligible.

Within the last year I have done something to address the problem of homelessness. (e.g., made a charitable contribution, talked with a homeless person, wrote my congressman regarding the problem).

Attitudes
A favorable or unfavorable reaction toward something or someone. Attitudes consist of three dimensions: ABC’s of attitudes
Attitudes
Breckler (1984) - Demonstrates the use of different techniques of researching attitudes with research on snakes. Affect (heart rate, mood checklist)
Behavior (Avg. dist. From vivid snake pictures, extent of contact with live snakes) Cognition (Snakes control rodent population, attack anything that moves...agreement, thought listing) Attitudes
Why are attitudes important?

They strongly influence social thought (e.g., Ross et al 1979) They are assumed to strongly influence behaviors
How are Attitudes Formed?
1) Operant Conditioning
Perform behavior, it gets reinforced
Positive attitudes toward behavior should form
Goldstar, funny.
How are Attitudes Formed?
2) Classical Conditioning
Unconditioned Stim --> Uncond. Response
Smile of Parents --> Happy child
Conditioned Stim-> Conditioned Response
Plate of veggies w/smile --> happy w/veg
Eventually won’t need smile
How are Attitudes Formed?
3) Balance Theory (Heider, 1958)
We have a need for balance in our attitudes
We frequently change our attitudes to create balance among them. Lets Draw

How are Attitudes Formed?
4) Social Comparison Theory (Festinger, 1954)
People have a need to evaluate themselves and their attitudes. This evaluation can take place through 2 sources:
1) Objective Comparisons - (i.e., thermostat)
2) Social Comparison
Similar others
Attitudes…
Fazio (1989) an attitude is an association in memory between an attitude object and an evaluation. Wilson & Hodges (1992) people may construct evaluations on the spot from information that is temporarily available. Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?

What do you think?
Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?
LaPierre (1934)
Research on feelings toward Asians
Anti-Asian sentiment at the time
Goes to 251 rest/hotels
Month later...Calls
Attitude: 92% said they would not serve
Behavior: Almost everyone served
Problems?

Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?
•      1990 - 90% of Americans say pollution moderate/serious threat...Only 50% recycle •      1996 - Americans rate nutrition as very important...Consuming more cal/fat than just 3 years back Surveys about values - Honesty rises to top...yet 91% admit lying frequently Do attitudes ever predict behavior?

When Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?

When Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?
1) Direct Experience
Regan and Fazio (1977) Cornell dorms
When Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?
2) Individual Differences
Self-monitoring
When Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?
3) Minimal social influence
Bogus Pipeline (Sigall & Page, 1971)
When Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?
4) When external factors do not influence behavior.
The principle of Aggregation
Power of situation
aggregate
Baseball analogy (Any one at bat)
When Do Attitudes Predict Behavior?
5) Examining Attitudes Specific to Behavior.
D.V. Class attendance on Friday
Are academics important to you?
Versus
Is it essential to attend class daily to...
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