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    Choice Assistance with summaries of The Psychology of Attitudes & Attitude Change - Maio et al. - 3rd edition

    Choice Assistance with summaries of The Psychology of Attitudes & Attitude Change - Maio et al. - 3rd edition

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    Content Prints with summaries of The Psychology of Attitudes & Attitude Change

    Booksummary: list of contents for the printed summaries

    • The printed English booksummary contains the following chapters:
      • What are attitudes and how are they measured? - Chapter 1
      • What are the three "witches" of attitude? - Chapter 2
      • What is the influence of attitudes on information processing and behavior? - Chapter 3
      • How do attitudes influence behavior? - Chapter 4
      • What are cognitive influences on attitudes? - Chapter 5
      • What are the affective influences on attitudes? - Chapter 6
      • What are the behavioral influences on attitudes? - Chapter 7
      • What are basic principles of forming attitudes? - Chapter 8
      • What is the influence of the physical state and body on attitudes? - Chapter 9
      • What about the external world? - Chapter 10
      • Why to have an eye to the future? - Chapter 11

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    What are attitudes and how are they measured? - Chapter 1

    What are attitudes and how are they measured? - Chapter 1

    What is an attitude?

    An attitude can be defined as "your likes and dislikes". It contains the expression of an evaluative judgment based on cognitive, behavioral and affective information. An attitude can vary in two different ways. For example, an attitude can vary in direction (valance), which means that there are both positive and negative attitudes. An attitude can also vary in strength, which means that a positive or negative attitude can be either very strong or weak. Attitude objects, an object where the attitude is about, can be anything that is liked or disliked. 

    What is the history of attitude research?

    An important study in the science of attitudes is the study of LaPiere (1934). He visited more than 250 hotels and restaurants with a Chinese couple. Since there was a considerable anti-Asian bias in America at the time, he expected that the Chinese couple would not be allowed to go into the restaurants and hotels as much, compared to him. However, it turned out that the Chinese couple did not receive any help in only one of restaurants and hotels they all attended. A few months later, LaPiere sent a letter to the same hotels and restaurants asking if they would admit Chinese people. Of the cases that answered the letter, only one hotel would admit Chinese people. This provided evidence that a person's attitude does not immediately determine the behavior that is displayed.

    There are two different methods of developing a theory of attitudes.

    1. The first is the convergent method. This starts with a phenomenon, such as attitude change, for which an explanation is needed. Subsequently, a theory is invented behind this phenomenon.
    2. The second method is the divergent method. Theories are developed that can be applied to a large number of phenomena.

    Research into the function of attitudes showed that the primary function is the so-called "object appraisal" function. This means that attitudes save energyat for making a decision. In 1960 a new way of looking at attitudes was introduced. This so-called social cognition method mainly looked at how individuals process information. In 1970, research was mainly conducted into the question to what extent attitudes predict behavior. Attitudes turned out to be a fairly poor predictor of behavior. In 1980 the research focused mainly on the content of attitudes. Such as the question of how people organize their behavior, feelings and previous experiences about a certain attitude object.

    What are ongoing developments?

    Over the past two decades, research has mainly focused on attitudes strength. Strong attitudes differ from weak attitudes in a number of ways, such as being more durable and impactful. More specifically, strong attitudes are:

    • More stable and persistent over time.
    • They are more resistant to change.
    • They are more likely to influence information processing.
    • They are more likely to predict behavior.

    There are three areas of study that made a great impact.

    1. The first one is advances in computer technology and concerns about the honesty of answers led researchers to develop new ways to measure those attitudes. Implicit attitudes have had the most impact because of these changes. Implicit measures assess attitudes without requiring an individual's direct awareness of how their attitude is being measured. 
    2. The second is about advances in technology that have also benefited attitude research via brain imaging techniques to study attitudes. Think about fMRI, MRI, EEG and MEG. 
    3. A third area of research is about evaluative condiitoning processes in relation to how attitudes are being formed. Evaluative conditioning is the process in which repeated presentation of an attitude object paired with an affective sensation comes to elicit an evaluation of the attitude object. 

    How are attitudes measured?

    Attitudes can be measured both directly (explicitly) and indirectly (implicitly).

    What are direct/explicit measures of attitudes?

    Explicit measures are mainly questionnaires on which people fill in what they think of a particular topic. Examples of these questionnaires are: Self-report questionaires; Equal apearing intervals method (EAI); Likert-Scale; Semantic differential approach.

    However, there are a number of problems with this form of attitude measurement. For example, people are not aware of some attitudes and it is therefore difficult to find out about them in a direct way. Furthermore, the way an item is presented can influence the response of the subject. Finally, people often only complete the part in questionnaires what they think should be completed. Therefore, it is useful to be able to measure attitudes in an indirect (implicit) way.

    What are indirect/implicit measures of attitudes?

    When it comes to measuring implicit measures, the subject is able to give the most honest opinion because they will not be able to know which attitude is being measured. 

    What is evaluative priming (EP)?

    An example of this implicit way of measuring attitudes is evaluative priming, where strong connections between associations can be measured. For example, if someone absolutely dislikes peanut butter, there will be a stronger connection between the word peanut butter and the word bad for them. In evaluative priming, this is measured by presenting a number of words, after which one must press the word bad or the word good. The speed of printing determines the strength of the connection between this association.

    What is implicit association task (IAT)?

    Another example of an implicit method is the Implicit Association Task (IAT). This works in a similar way to evaluative priming but is a bit more extensive. It is based on the assumption that attitude objects can activate evaluations, which influence responses and the speed with which these responses are made. 

    A wave of excitement was about the power of the measure, because it looked like respondents could not bias their scores. But people can, after some training, have some control over the influence of their attitudinal biases on responses in the IAT after training. However, there is a lot of criticism of this method of attitude measurement. For example, it is often mentioned as a point of criticism that an association is not the same as an attitude and that this conclusion is made too quickly.

    What are other types of indirect measures of attitudes?

    The Affect Misattribution Paradigm (AMP) is a measure implemented on a computer. Participants are shown images of an object with a certain attitude over a number of trials and then they are asked to quickly rate the pleasantness of an ambiguous stimulus, shown quickly after, while ignoring the stimulus before. 

    New variations of the IAT have also been invented, thinking about a personalized IAT being a more effective measurement of attitude. This is because IAT can be influenced by extrapersonal associations, knowledge about what others think, or feel about the attitude of the object. Also, there has to be some refinement in the tackle of the spontaneaous associations with the ingroup or outgroup that can have influence.

    Another adaptation of the IAT assesses attitudes without a computer. But computers are not always available, and that is why paper-and-pencil IAT tasks have been developed. 

    Other types of indirect measures of attitudes have been developed with a number of psychophysiological measures. These include the galvanic skin response (GSR), pupillary dilation, and facial electromyographic activity (facial EMG). 

    Also, other physiological measures have shown promise. Event-related potentials (ERP) measure the electrical activity in the brain. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) attempts to uncover brain areas associated with attitudinal responses assessing blood flow and blood oxygenation changes within the brain. 

    Which issues are relevant to the measurement of attitudes?

    A psychological measure must be reliable and valid. Reliability refers to the degree to which test scores are free from errors in measurement. In the context of attitude measurement, reliability has two important meanings: 

    1. Internal consistency refers to whether the items are all assessing the same psychological construct
    2. Test-retest reliability refers to consistency in scores across time, so it should give similar scores across repeated testing. 

    The validity of the scale refers to the extent that it assesses the construct it is designed to measure.

    What are the three "witches" of attitude? - Chapter 2

    What are the three "witches" of attitude? - Chapter 2

    Attitudes are discussed on the basis of three "witches" (witches). The first witch is about the content of an attitude. The most influential model in the field of attitudes is the multi-component model. This model assumes that attitudes are a summary of evaluations of an object that has cognitive, affective and behavioral components. These three components are easy to remember in English by the word CAB (cognition, affect, behavior) or simply ABC (affect, behavior, cognition).

    What is the influence of attitudes on information processing and behavior? - Chapter 3

    What is the influence of attitudes on information processing and behavior? - Chapter 3

    Attitudes have a number of effects on people's attention. People are more likely to look at information that confirms their attitude and ignore disproving information (for example when (or after) buying a car). The magnitude of these effects depend on a number of factors. For example, the new deviating information must not be very useful or irrefutable. When people have attitudes on a unipolar scale, they remember the extreme congruent and incongruent statements better than less extremes. Relevant information is treated more carefully in highly ambivalent people than in non-ambivalent people. This allows them to better discover new information that supports their attitude, thereby reducing ambivalence. Ambivalence draws less attention to the content of the information if the info counteracts the attitude. If people find an attitude important, they are more likely to seek out information than people who find the attitude less important. Our visual attention is automatically focused on things with highly accessible attitudes.

    How do attitudes influence behavior? - Chapter 4

    How do attitudes influence behavior? - Chapter 4

    The attitude towards the behavior means that one has the expectation that the behavior will have the desired consequence. For example, when recycling is done, it is expected that this behavior will have the desired result; namely that the environment is improved. Furthermore, the value attached to this consequence is also important. For example, when recycling for the environment, people think that helping the environment is good and that it has value for that person. The subjective norm consists of normative beliefs (normative beliefs) and motivation. Normative beliefs are how you are expected to behave. Motivation is the motivation to meet that expectation. Behavioral intention is the intention to perform behavior.

    What are cognitive influences on attitudes? - Chapter 5

    What are cognitive influences on attitudes? - Chapter 5

    Cognitive aspects of deception are explained using models. Attitudinal beliefs are important for attitudes towards a variety of important issues, for example, people's attitudes towards car use can be influenced by their beliefs about climate change. Research has studied the effect of cognitive information about an object on attitudes toward it. 

    What are the affective influences on attitudes? - Chapter 6

    What are the affective influences on attitudes? - Chapter 6

    The persuasiveness and power of emotion is evident to us from a very young age; children learn to be very careful in addressing teachers or parents when they are in a bad mood. This is because people in a worse mood are less easy to seduce. Emotion influences attitudes in a variety of ways, sometimes subtle/indirect and sometimes powerful/direct. 

    Studies also tell us that when we are in proximity of another person, it eventually makes us like the person more. This is because proximity encourages positive interactions with others. Being exposed to something could give people more affection or more aversion according to Festinger. 

    What are the behavioral influences on attitudes? - Chapter 7

    What are the behavioral influences on attitudes? - Chapter 7

    People's feelings about their own performance depend more on how many bad objects they hit than how many good objects they hit. Negative information has a stronger effect on people's perception. People learn a lot from trying new things but not from avoiding them. When we think (but are not sure) that something is bad, we avoid it and never know if it was really bad. On the other hand, when we think something is right, we go there and find out. Avoidance behavior provides less information, so we remain prone to over-generalization of the negative experiences we have. Example when a child is trying out new food "If you don't ever try, you will never know if you like it" (mother to child).

    What are basic principles of forming attitudes? - Chapter 8

    What are basic principles of forming attitudes? - Chapter 8

    Attitudes can be influenced by information that at best has a weak relevance to attitude object such as attractiveness or mood. People remain "favorable" even after seeing that the desired consequence is no longer valid. For example, when a jacket is first sold with a discount, then this discount is suddenly no longer there, people still want to buy this jacket even though the discount (for which they initially bought the jacket) is no longer there. Other influences include: rate of speach, humor, positive vs negative framing of the attributions, number of arguments, citations of consensus, kindness, attractiveness, celebrity, power, and ingroup.

    What is the influence of the physical state and body on attitudes? - Chapter 9

    What is the influence of the physical state and body on attitudes? - Chapter 9

    Why did researchers became interested in developing implicit measures of attitude? One of the primary motivations was that the individual's responses on an explicit measure of attitude was not providing an accurate depiction of their opinion. This raised the question whether self-report measures of prejudice provided a vaild indication of an individual's underlying attitude. 

    The original idea was that implicit measures of attitude was the belief that they are less likely to be influenced by social desirability concerns and other influences. But individual's responses on implicit measures can be affected by the social contact in which the measures are completed, so the responses are not an indication of an individual's 'true' attitude. 

    What about the external world? - Chapter 10

    What about the external world? - Chapter 10

    Most studies about attitude change look at the effect of óne intervention on attitudes, over a limited period of time. 

    The easiest example of multi-message environment occurs when the same message is presented repeatedly. People find the message, repeated three times, more convincing than repeated only one or over 5 times. This can be explained by means of the Elaboration Likelihood Model. By offering something more often, people have more opportunity to process the strong arguments. At a certain point it became annoying (5x) which works the opposite way (counter-argue). This only works with strong arguments, because with weak arguments after hearing it multiple times you can detect the weakness.

    Why to have an eye to the future? - Chapter 11

    Why to have an eye to the future? - Chapter 11

    Attitudes have various properties. They are not just reviews of what you like or dislike. They contain cognitive, affective and behavioral information, which vary in attitude structure and various motivational functions. They also vary in matters such as accessibility in the memory, the importance to the self and the certainty that comes with it.

    Printed summary of The Psychology of Attitudes & Attitude Change - Maio et al. - 3rd edition
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