Traditions that are helpful in terror management include those of family, culture, and those found in the major religions. In contributing to these we may feel there is something that survives our individual lives, and makes our existence meaningful. Other people create literature or write books like this book in the search for some permanence or symbolic immortality. According to the theory of terror management, we manage our anxiety through a variety of attitudes that all serve the function of pushing out the thoughts of the impending doom.
Our attitudes toward religion, culture, and literature, and our creative work, are all attempts to push away the fears associated with mortality. Perhaps drug and alcohol abuse, and reliance on recreational diversions serve similar functions. Many attitudes are undoubtedly formed as a result of the grand dilemma of life. Many attitudes are expressed in our support for our reference groups. Whether of a political, cultural, or religious nature, these groups matter to us, and help us identify our values and therefore are fundamental to specific attitudes.
In general, conservative groups attract those who are committed to free enterprise, whereas liberal groups are more motivated by the values of equality Hunter, The pioneering project that demonstrated the changing role of reference groups in attitude formation was the historical Bennington College study of student attitudes Newcomb, As it turned out it was the college experience that was the more influential in forming lasting attitudes.
A follow up study showed that these liberal attitudes held for the long run. Even 25 years later the majority continued to hold liberal views. Obviously parents were still a reference group, but as could be expected peers and the college environment had a powerful influence in the formation of more liberal attitudes. Perhaps this knowledge is the basis for the creation of many religious universities where students will not be confronted with ideas different from those of their parents.
This has very broad implications for information processing. Our attitudes promote the selective use of memory and perception, and help us sort out the information which is consistent with our attitudes.
We tend to think more highly of information that supports our attitudes. In a sense therefore, for many significant attitudes, our knowledge is highly selective and reflects mainly information that will not contradict our cherished views. We maintain positive self-images by remembering only those events that support this image Greenwald, Many of our attitudes are formed in response to our need to cognitively organize the world in accordance with our worldviews and values.
The measurement of attitudes Much of the preceding would make no sense unless we have ways of measuring attitudes formed in a variety of ways, and serving many functions. It would also be impossible to understand attitude change, except in some behavioral sense, unless we could use instruments to calculate any change over time. Although some attempts have been made at developing multidimensional scales, unidimensional scales are still the primary vehicles through which to study attitudes.
Each of the four methods described below were invented to answer specific measurement problems. One important issue in attitude measurement is unidimensionality. Does the attitude scale measure a single dimension and include statements that cover the range from very positive to very negative toward the attitude object?
Generally item analysis, correlating each item to the total test score, is used to find those items that correlate highest, and therefore contribute most to the attitude measured. Other methods can also be applied to determine unidimensionality, including assessments of overall reliability using alpha coefficients and factor analysis to examine the underlying structure of the scale items. Reliability is another essential issue in scale construction. This concept addresses the issue of consistency.
Will the results obtained by the scale be the same a month from now as in the original administration test-retest method. Other forms of reliability are internal split-half reliability where we correlate the sum of the odd numbered items with the even numbered items of our survey.
If reliability were high we would expect high correlations between the two halves of the scale. Split-half reliability employes the Spearman Brown prophecy formula to compensate for using only half of the items in the scale, as test reliability is related to the length of the test. In more recent years we have employed an estimate of overall intercorrelations of the items called the alpha coefficient.
Validity is a concept that refers to whether the scale measures what it purports to measure. If we are measuring attitudes toward nuclear weapons, is that what we really are measuring and not some other peripheral object? Validity can be measured by construct relationships asking whether the scale correlates in predictable ways with already established measures?
It is also possible to use the scale in known group procedures. Can the scale discriminate the attitudes of two or more groups that are known a priori to have different attitudes? Are the mean differences significant and in the predicted direction? Reproducibility is related to unidimensionality. If a person agrees with say a negative item, he should also agree with all the items that are less negative. The reproducibility coefficient is therefore also a measure of the unidimensionality of the scale.
In this scale he would ask the following: According to my first feeling-reaction, I would willingly admit members of each race as a class, and not the best I have known, nor the worst members , to one or more of the classifications that I have circled.
This would then be followed with a listing of a variety of national and ethnic groups along the vertical axis, and the following descriptions along the horizontal: To close kinship by marriage 1 ; to my club as personal chums 2 ; to my street as neighbors 3 ; to employment in my occupation 4 ; to citizenship in my country 5 ; as visitors to my country 6 ; and would exclude from my country 7.
Essentially Bogardus sought to measure prejudice by examining the relative social distance the individual felt toward various groups. As can be observed it is a unidimensional scale of social distance, and therefore is useful in obtaining some overall idea of stereotypical prejudice in various populations. The social distance scale is useful in ordering groups of people. Social distance can be found for ethnic minorities in terms of their acceptability to the majority. The acceptability of the majority to the minority may also be determined by including it among several national groups.
This method requires first the development of a large number of statements representing different points along the unidimensional scale. Some items are formulated extremely positive, others moderately positive, some moderately negative, and some extremely negative.
From this initial item pool Thurstone constructed the attitude universe by developing a scale of items with 11 points ranging from extremely positive to extremely negative toward the attitude object. Each of the participants would go through a so-called judgment procedure.
They read each individual item and placed it on the point continuum according to its direction and intensity. From these judgments the experimenter determined where each item belonged on the continuum.
First he calculated the median of responses for each item. The median is the point that divides the total number of judgments in half.
Each item with a scale median value was subsequently placed at equidistant points along the continuum. Some statements were judged at point 1 on the scale, others 2, etc.
Those items that did not fall at or close to one of the points on the scale were eliminated. At the end this resulted in about 80 plus items and so each point on the scale was represented by 7 or 8 items. The remaining statements were subjected to a q-value analysis see e.
Blalock, Q-values are the 75th percentile minus the 25th percentile, and are therefore a measure of the spread of the middle 50 percent of the judgments. Only the middle of the range of judgments is used, as the extremes are considered careless assessments.
For example for an item having a scale value of 6, those who placed the item in categories 1 or 2, or 10 or 11, were either unable to do the judging task, or were careless judges. The larger the q-value result found, the less agreement among the judges on where to place the statement.
Clearly, therefore, the q value is a measure of the ambiguity of the item, and the less ambiguous the better the agreement. During the next step, the items within each of the 11 groups are then ordered according to the size of the q value, and two alternative items are defined from those with the lowest q values. To assess the reliability of the scale, we correlate the alternative forms. For validity we can use construct validity correlating our scale with established scales with known validity.
Are the correlations significant and in the predicted direction? Criterion groups can also be used to see if the mean differences between groups known to have different attitudes are significant and in the predicted direction. If we are developing a scale on attitudes toward e. If the scale was valid, the gay rights group would be found to have significantly more positive attitudes when compared to the conservative group. Commonly, each form of the scale would have 22 statements, two for each point of the scale.
The scale is then ready for use. The respondents would indicate agreement with those items that correspond to their attitude, and the attitude score would be the summation of the scale values of all the items with which they agree. Although the Thurstone scale provides us with a unidimensional scale, and may have satisfactory reliability and validity, it is also a very time consuming method. Would it be possible to develop a scaling method that has comparable reliability and validity, but is less cumbersome?
At the same time the Likert method is much less laborious in development. Recall that in Thurstone we asked the respondents to judge each item according to its place on the point continuum. In the Likert method we ask people to base their judgments on their own attitudes.
For Thurstone we asked for objective judgments as to where the item belonged whereas for the Likert method we ask for agreement or disagreement with the item presented. As with Thurstone, we start with a large number of statements that reflect the attitude universe of interest. These criteria demand that statements should be simple not complex, should be short rarely exceeding 20 words, should refer to a single object not several, and so forth.
After editing the statements they are placed in a survey in random order. Since about half are written as negative toward the object, and the other half as positive, it is important to maintain random order to avoid response biases.
The response categories are typically five from agree strongly 5 , agree 4 , uncertain 3 , disagree 2 , and disagree strongly 1. Each of the weights are then summed up across the item pool but only after the weights for the negatively keyed items are reversed to ensure that the overall score is representative of the item pool and all the items are scored in the same direction.
A further effort to eliminate items that are ambiguous or do not contribute to the attitude is carried out by means of item analysis part-whole correlations , or alpha coefficients. The resulting scale may have 20 to 30 items, approximately half of which are positive, and half negative. Assessing validity is done with either construct coefficients, or by using known groups to predict mean differences.
The advantage of the Likert method over Thurstone is that it is much easier to develop. Neither method, however, addresses the problem of reproducibility.
The same overall score can be obtained in several ways, and so we do not have a direct way to assess unidimensionality. Does the scale you have developed represent an ordinal set of items that fall along a single dimension? Given that scales are not perfect Guttman developed a coefficient of reproducibility to determine whether the scale meets minimal criteria, usually a coefficient of.
In general, an item is considered a part of a cumulative scale if it reaches or surpasses a value of. Some contemporary examples of measures and attitudes Attitude scales have been developed in order to study a variety of social topics.
Scales offer an opportunity to establish the reliability, the validity, and the content of attitudes. These are the major advantages of scales over single item surveys. Single item surveys are furthermore often confounded by the wording of a statement. Slight changes in the wording can create widely discrepant results, and confound the evaluation and significance of the attitude. Where possible, therefore, the researcher should use the Likert method for developing a scale, and check its unidimensionality by applying e.
Explicit and implicit attitudes Attitudes can be present either explicitly or implicitly. Explicit attitudes are those we know exist within ourselves, of which we are conscious, and about which we can report. Explicit attitudes produce rapid responses to the attitude object. We might endorse very progressive views on tolerance toward other groups in our society while maintaining feelings of discomfort toward these groups.
We are only now beginning to understand the conceptual difference between explicit and implicit attitudes, but it is important to know that psychologically speaking our attitudes can be split. We should keep this difference in mind since the research reviewed in this chapter is based on explicit attitudes. Attitudes as predictors of behavior In the early history of social psychology, scholars were confronted with a study that caused great concern.
It showed that attitudes had apparently little to do with behavior. LaPiere spent two years traveling around the U. Out of the establishments they visited, they were only denied service at one establishment. Many of these negative views were based on stereotypes of Chinese laborers brought in to build the railroads or to run laundry services in the cities.
Most people in fact had not had any personal experience with Chinese so as to form affect-based attitudes. Of the that replied, 92 percent wrote back to say it was against their policy to serve people from Asia, a result totally opposite to what LaPiere had actually experienced. This study is always cited to indicate the lack of correspondence between behavior and attitudes.
Other studies in the following decades came up with similar discrepancies, and led some to believe that there were no stable underlying attitudes which determined verbal reactions or behavior Wicker, Eckes and Six examined the influence of measurement correspondence, time interval between attitude and behavior measures, number of behavior alternatives, and behavioral domain. They investigated the results of studies, published in 59 journals between and Hence they found some moderators in the relationship between attitude and behavior.
The number of behavior alternatives in case of two alternatives the correlation is obviously higher than in case more alternatives are available and the way of measuring behavior in case of self-report the correlation is much higher than with objective measurement are examples of such moderators.
Also the domain matters very much. However, these results still leave much open about what might cause discrepancies between attitude and behavior. These attitude-behavior inconsistency results came at a time when researchers also found that personality traits failed to predict behavior.
Many asked whether there was a total disconnection between what people said and what they did, and if attitudes really did not determine anything? To assess this question it is important to understand what really took place in the LaPiere study.
LaPiere traveled through the country with a well dressed, and attractive Chinese couple. The couple did not fit the stereotype of the white prejudicial mind. Therefore, when faced with this couple, most establishments could not react stereotypically when confronted with this situation. In responding to the request for service the immediate situation overpowered any stereotypes guiding their thinking.
In fact, LaPiere did not study affect-based attitudes, but rather stereotypes that only elicit behavior in combination with social support. Behavior is not only determined by attitudes, and attitudes can hence not predict behavior. Other influences that compete with attitudes and cause attitude behavior inconsistency Human beings are complex and our behavior, our attitude, and the relationship between behavior and attitude are the result of many factors.
Social psychologists have counted up to 40 different factors that may influence the relationship between attitudes and behavior Triandis, ; Kraus, A major determinant of inconsistency between the two is social desirability.
We often hide our views from others for fear that they will not be acceptable. Our fear of rejection or experiencing other forms of punishment cause us to moderate our responses.
We do not always tell truth to power, because power may not like to hear what we have to say, and consequences can be painful.
As we face decisions in any given situation, we must remember both our explicit attitudes and the situation confronting us.
For example, religious attitudes are poor predictors of church attendance. What are the competing factors that affect people who are religious so they do not attend religious services?
Perhaps they are religious, but their family or friends are not, and pressure you to not attend. Maybe they have to work when religious services are performed.
For any behavior, we can think of similar reasons for the lack of attitude-behavior consistency. At least at the short-term, when we examine religious behaviors over time, then attitudes predict behaviors quiet well.
However, where the measured attitude is directly relevant to the situation, attitudes do predict behavior. For example, general attitudes toward the environment do not predict recycling behavior, but attitudes toward recycling do Oskamp, To establish the true relationship of attitudes to behavior we must measure attitudes that are specific to the behavior being studied. The survey included both very general questions like what they thought in general about birth control, but also specific questions such as what they thought about using birth control pills.
The researchers waited two years before again contacting the women. The results showed that the general questions did not relate to behavior. Again this result most likely occurred because the general attitude question measured only stereotypic responses to which the individual had little emotional commitment.
On the other hand specific questions about birth control pills did strongly predict their subsequent use. The lesson learned: we must measure attitudes toward specific behaviors to obtain good behavior-attitude consistency. Broad social attitudes provide a framework that identifies the content of beliefs and feelings, without which we cannot ask the specific questions, or determine need for attitude change.
Attitude scales that broadly define attitudes are also important for the development of theories in social psychology. They describe how variables correlate, and in what direction. These attitude and behavioral relationships can help us understand the stereotypic norms of society that control behaviors that are not obvious. We suspect that voting behavior in the US and the Western world is often just based on feelings of liking in turn produced by stereotypical advertisement by political parties.
As we can see, broad or general attitudes can be of great significance with consequences for both the individual and society. However, broad attitude measurement must show fidelity to the object being measured and demonstrate validity at least from the point of construct assurance.
General attitudes predict general behaviors. There must be a match between the attitude measured and the predicted behavior. So, regardless whether the attitude measured is considered broad or specific, attitudes predict best when both the attitude scale and behavior are at the same level of specificity. Scales that are highly specific do a better job at predicting highly specific behavior; those that are general or broad do a better job in predicting broad behaviors Ajzen, It happens at times that we have feelings of dislike and yet think positively about the target person or issue.
In several studies, students rated their attitudes toward participating in psychological experiments. Some felt positive, but did not think it would help them in any way; others felt positive and thought it might help their grades or their other academic goals.
Some attitudes we learn second hand from our educational system or other cultural institutions. Remember the inconsistency in the LaPiere study! This might well have occurred because the stereotypes then prominent in American society were not based on actual encounters with Asian people, but learned second hand through the biased widespread beliefs in society. The effect of personal experience has been demonstrated in several experiments.
One group consisted of those who were made personally uncomfortable as a consequence of the crisis by having to stay in emergency or temporary housing. Another group consisted of those who had read or otherwise heard about the crisis. Students who had actually experienced the crisis first hand were more likely to engage in relevant behaviors such as signing petitions, when compared to those whose attitudes were second hand.
Recently the first author was approached to sign a petition to put on the next election ballot a proposal for universal health care in the state of Oregon. This is an issue toward which he is very sympathetic, and it took him little time to agree and sign the petition. Some salient attitudes produce very rapid and spontaneous responses; they are very accessible in our minds. Other issues are of less concern. He had few opinions on the make or models of cars to buy.
Only after buying a car did he develop an attitude toward the purchased car, but previous to his purchase his attitudes were not readily accessible. The participants rated various consumer products, and accessibility was determined by the time it took to respond to a particular product. In this study only if attitudes came quickly to mind were they related to actual behavior. Sometimes a word or image may activate an attitude and make it accessible. In that situation we do not take the time to evaluate the positive or negative of the proposed behavior, we simply act.
In a sense these behaviors are so automatic that they bypass our conscious attitudes. As we can see from the previous discussion, attitudes compete with many influences in determining behavior. Many of us do not act purely on our attitudes, but are influenced by what we think is appropriate or normative behavior. It assumes that people consciously choose to behave in certain ways depending on both their attitudes plus their understanding of the norms regarding appropriate behavior, or what the researchers called subjective norms.
Attitudes together with relevant subjective norms produce behavioral intentions that in turn predict behavior. In a study on breast-feeding, attitudes together with subjective norms e.
Later Ajzen , proposed a theory of planned behavior. In addition to attitudes and subjective norms, Ajzen proposed the variable of perceived behavioral control. Did the participant believe they could perform the behavior? If not, the attitude and norms would have little effect. If we are dealing with specific behaviors, then attitudes toward these behaviors, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, may increase our ability to predict the behavior.
Why do attitudes follow behavior? We know that sales people change customer attitudes by the foot-in-the-door technique. If people agree to perform behaviors that are not too demanding, they are more likely to consent to the larger requests that follow.
When these participants were approached three weeks later and asked to place a crudely made and ugly sign on their front lawns, 76 percent agreed, as compared to 17 percent from a group that had not been previously approached.
What happened? Apparently, behaving in a small way favoring traffic safety changed their attitudes in more significant ways. So attitudes do follow behavior! Other studies showed similar patterns. People willing to wear a small pin to support cancer research were compared to another group not asked to wear the pin. The group that agreed to wear the pin were later more likely to contribute money to cancer research. These studies show that responding to a small request, behaving in small and apparently insignificant ways, causes broader changes in attitudes.
After the initial non-demanding behavior the individual responds to larger requests. The individual would not have agreed to the demanding request without the prior behavioral commitment. The roles people play affect their attitudes.
Individuals raised to supervisory status change their attitudes substantially as a consequence. Research shows that these previous workers become more sympathetic to management positions in their new roles. Called upon to perform a new role, attitudes changed to be consistent with new expectations Lieberman, When people act in their roles, attitudes follow.
We seem to believe our behavior. Military people quickly adopt military attitudes. Although they are the ones who suffer most in wartime, they typically hold the most pro war attitudes, because how else can they justify the risks that they and their comrades take. Attitudes are formed as a result of the roles we play in society. Whether we are students or teachers, we develop attitudes consistent with our roles. Eventually the individual becomes incapable of distinguishing between his role and his personal behaviors as they become one and the same.
In a similar way, when our roles or social situations compel us to say something, we eventually come to believe what we say. Most of us are aware of common attitudes, social taboos, and norms, and we adjust our speech accordingly. Eventually, saying something becomes believing, and our attitudes become consistent with our talk. Inconsistency between talk and attitudes would create too much dissonance for most people.
We can observe appalling consequences in wartime. Aided by official propaganda, soldiers often develop callous and inhuman attitudes toward their supposed enemy. Normal people justify immoral acts by devaluing the supposed enemy, and by increasing social distance.
Those who commit genocide are often normal decent human beings in civilian life, but come out of war theaters with cynical attitudes toward human life. During slavery, common people accepted the morality of other people being held in involuntary bondage. This inconsistency-reduction does not always last. Veterans in the United States have since the war dealt with issues of delayed stress syndrome. One theory is that soldiers participated in horrible events, but these were inconsistent with more deeply held values.
The inconsistency was suppressed for many years, but typically at great psychological cost to the individual. For some at least, the evil acts produced more cynical attitudes, and their conscience came back to haunt the individual many years after the behavior. That attitude follows behavior can also be observed in political movements in their manipulations of populations. In Nazi Germany we saw the people participating in a variety of behaviors supporting the regime. Mass rallies with hypnotic martial music, parades using flags and other national symbols, the German salute of the raised arm, all of these behaviors were powerful conditioning devices.
Probably all societies have similar conditioning rituals, and politicians use these to win support for policies and political goals.
That is certainly true in the Western world. For example in the U. Other countries like the Netherlands and Norway may use different and less strong conditioning to obtain compliance with minimal social objectives. We can encourage normative behavior, and often attitude change follows. If we, for example, examine attitude changes in the southern United States toward Blacks we see huge changes as a result of legislative and other legitimate action enforcing laws on racial equality Larsen, Tolerance seems to follow laws that enforce tolerance and equal treatment.
We also have evidence that when we act positively toward someone it increases liking of that person. Theories of why attitudes follow behavior In the previous discussion we have alluded to why attitudes follow behavior. Let us now discuss the major theories developed in social psychology to explain the behavior-attitude consistence.
Theories of cognitive consistency What explanations can we offer for why, over time, our outward behavior gives way to deeply felt convictions. How is it that people try to make their attitudes consistent with their behaviors? As will be seen, the following theories are essentially theories of rationalizations as the individual tries to understand his attitudes by the experiences that follow from situations and the environment.
Balance theory Heider was the first to develop a psychological balance theory. Heider posited that balance existed in triads consisting of the person P , another person O , and some object X. For each of the three components of the triad it is possible to envision a positive or negative relationship. The two people may like each other, be friends, but they may like the object or not. John can also evaluate his political opinions, and come to realize that Peter is right in holding these.
Festinger followed with his theory of cognitive dissonance that dealt with cognitive balance within one person. In a way similar to Heider, Festinger argued that people do not like imbalance in thought or relationships, and will behave in ways to restore balance.
He contended that people in dissonance experienced unpleasant feelings that in turn motivated the change of either beliefs or behavior to remove the dissonance. The unpleasant feelings motivate us to change something in ourselves or in the environment. Put in another way, we feel unpleasant tension occur when two beliefs or thoughts are not psychologically consistent.
They somehow do not fit or are incompatible. You like smoking and feel positive toward this social habit, but you have learned you might die early if you continue. What to do? You could stop smoking, and then your behavior would be in consonant with your beliefs. Smoking causes addiction though, so some may find quitting difficult. They resolved the dissonance between desire and health by disagreeing with the assertion that smoking is dangerous. The dangers of smoking had been exaggerated the addicted seemed to say.
Some smokers would argue that they knew people who smoked every day of their adult lives and yet lived to see a hundred years. Rationalizations reduce dissonance if they are sincerely believed. Do you think many smokers truly believe in their dissonance reduction efforts?
In similar ways we find reasons to downgrade the not chosen alternative. We constantly try to assure ourselves that we have displayed wisdom in our choices. Any decision that is important creates some dissonance Brehm, , and we therefore usually change some cognition.
For example, you bought a new car, but had doubts about the wisdom of the purchase. To remove the dissonance, you looked for information that permitted you to rationalize your decision.
Some advertising, for example, showed that the car is highly ranked in consumer satisfaction. In addition the car has many surprising and delightful features that pleases you, so now you are a happy costumer and your dissonance is removed.
On the way to the betting counter gamblers were unsure, feeling the dissonance of the impending decision: would the horse run as they hoped? However, after the purchase the bettors expressed great confidence in their choice. Making difficult decisions triggers uncertainty, produces dissonance and activates the rationalization process. Dissonance reduction does not necessarily occur at a conscious level. In many cases, we make decisions that involve substantial effort, but are nevertheless disappointing in their outcomes.
We can reduce the dissonance by justifying to ourselves that the effort was after all worthwhile. For example, students participating in an experiment were led to believe that it would be exciting and deal with sexual topics.
Some had to go through a severe screening test, whereas the control group only listened to a few suggestive words about sexual behavior. What followed was a boring discussion on the sex life of invertebrates.
The experimental group who had to endure the screening to participate experienced a large amount of dissonance between expectations and the actual event. What did the students do? Useless bogus therapy brought about a similar dissonance reduction effort Cooper, Reevaluation pressures are especially strong when we choose between alternatives that seem more or less equally attractive Brehm, The tendency to favor the chosen alternative increases when people are at the point of implementing the decision.
A doomsday group had predicted the end of the world on a specific day. When the day arrived without the expected destruction, the group was initially chagrined.
Soon, however, they responded to the dissonance with renewed energy as they busily engaged in recruiting new supporters. Did the attempt to convert others help reduce their own dissonance? Common sense would tell us that the group would just pack it in, and accept that their beliefs were absurd. Instead they performed as dissonance theory would predict and reduced dissonance by new explanations and active recruitment of new believers.
Perhaps the boss asked you to work on holy days when it would be against your beliefs or plans for the weekend to work. When a person engages in such attitude discrepant behavior, it is predictably followed by dissonance.
Most people resolve these unpleasant feelings by readjusting the attitude. Perhaps it was not so bad to work on the proscribed days! After all I was paid to do it, and my standing with the company improved, they may reason. Those who do not believe in premarital sex, but engage in the behavior, justify it by saying they are really in love, or it feels good so how could it be wrong?
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All for free.This has very broad implications for information processing. Often our emotions fall into line after our physical expressions. For real attitude change there has to be some incentive, but not too much so the individual feels sufficiently compensated by the incentive. This study is always cited to indicate the lack of correspondence between behavior and attitudes. Theories of why attitudes follow behavior In the previous discussion we have alluded to why attitudes follow behavior.
Support for this idea has been found in several studies. According to the theory of terror management, we manage our anxiety through a variety of attitudes that all serve the function of pushing out the thoughts of the impending doom. One consequence of this apparent contradiction is that people may easily change certain beliefs, while still maintaining their basic evaluations. Will the results obtained by the scale be the same a month from now as in the original administration test-retest method.
How can we then reconcile the findings of the two theories? The participant was paid only a dollar to lie, and that is not enough to justify a lie, therefore the participants think they must really have enjoyed the experiment. Some think that our personal insecurities motivate all forms of prejudice see e.
James drew similar conclusions a century earlier when he said that we infer our emotions by how our bodies function. They therefore reasoned that these children would resolve the feelings of dissonance by downplaying the value of the toy.
People low in need for approval spend less time self-monitoring or worrying about what others think as they do what they think is right. Any decision that is important creates some dissonance Brehm, , and we therefore usually change some cognition. Thus it would appear that mild threats is the way to go if a parent wants to encourage attitude change. For real attitude change there has to be some incentive, but not too much so the individual feels sufficiently compensated by the incentive. Theories of attitude formation Assuming that most attitudes are formed by experience, learning theory must play an important role in attitude formation.