PSYC.2090 Attitudes and Social Influence Lecture I:

To start please open the link below, enlarge the window, and use the arrow key to go to each picture. For each picture indicate, as quickly as you can, whether you think it is good or bad.

I. Attitude Components

Your ratings of good and bad indicate your attitude towards those objects. You can have an attitude toward just about anything (e.g., yourself, a person, a group of people, animals, concepts like freedom, consumer products etc.). There are a few things to consider about your attitudes:

1. Affect (p. 206-207). Your attitude toward an object consists mostly of just whether you think the object is good or bad (positive or negative). Research shows that people even have affective reactions (although fairly slight) towards fairly neutral objects (paper clips, belts).

2. Although your attitude consist of this positive/negative continuum. Attitudes also have a cognitive component (p. 207): these are your thoughts and knowledge about the object. For example, your attitude towards Apple products may consist of specific information you know about the capabilities of iphones.

3. There is also a behavioral (p. 207) component of attitudes. If you have positive affect towards an object then you tend to approach that object. If you have negative affect towards an object then you tend to avoid (move away from) that object.

To give you a sense of how advertisers try to connect with people affectively, please click on the link below.

II. Attitude Measurement

Now I would like you to look over the questions below and think about what might be problematic about asking people these questions on a survey.

What is your attitude towards: 1. same-sex marriage?
2. the legalization of marijuana?

Please number your answers Define implicit attitudes and explicit attitudes;  then speculate how these impact each other.What did social psychology researchers learn from Milgram’s study and why is it 1Please number your answers Define implicit attitudes and explicit attitudes;  then speculate how these impact each other.What did social psychology researchers learn from Milgram’s study and why is it 2

3. cheating on taxes?
4. a stigmatized social group (e.g., people who are gay, Black, Latino etc.)?

1. Explicit Measures. One of the main ways that researchers measure people’s attitudes is simply to ask them what their attitude is toward something (i.e., use self- report, which is an explicit measurep. 207-208). But as you can see from the sample questions above, this straightforward way of asking people may be problematic for some types of topics. For some people these are controversial topics, and they may not want to tell the researcher their true attitude. They may simply tell the researcher what they think the researcher wants to hear (thus, they give a socially desirable response).

Now take a look at these questions: What is your attitude towards:
1. paper clips
2. kettles

3. belts

Now of course I’m being silly to illustrate a point. Many of you probably haven’t thought about your attitude towards these things and don’t really have an attitude towards them. This illustrates another problem with directly asking people their attitudes—they are not always aware what their attitude is towards something; note, however, may have an unconscious attitude toward some things.

2. Implicit Measures. To get around the problems of participants not wanting to say what their attitudes are or not being aware of their attitudes, many social psychologists try to measures people’s attitudes with implicit measures (p. 232-233)…measures in which people have a difficult time controlling their responses or are not aware that they are giving a response.

To see how advertisers want to tap into consumers unconscious desires select the link below and watch “The Persuaders” (from 30:48 to 36:05). Although the advertising guru’s method of getting at the unconscious is not up to standards of most psychology journals and therefore his theories don’t really have support, he does make some points

in line with current thinking about how we’re often not aware of our motives and behavior. .

3. Attitude Strength. Think back to when you were rating the attitude objects as good or bad. How fast were you able to make these ratings? The speed at which you labeled something as good or bad (response latency, p. 208) could indicate the strength of your attitude toward this object (e.g., you really love Bieber and you respond quickly that he is good). Now you may have not thought that much about your attitude towards some things (paper clips), thus you may have been slower to say good or bad (thus your attitude toward paper clips is weak). You may have noticed that this is similar to how we discussed (in the Self chapter) being schematic or aschematic about something.

Next I’d like to answer whether you believe the following statements or not. 1. It is good for your health to eat vegetables.

2. It is good for your health to exercise.
3. It is good to recycle.
4. The right to vote is one of the most valuable rights of American citizens. 5. World hunger is a serious problem that needs attention.

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