Societal Psychology: Dr Tom Reader A socially relevant Psychology: attitudes and changing behaviour Attitudes and Changing Behaviour Dr Tom Reader PS443: Societal Psychology - Lecture 3. Institute of Social Psychology Lecture Aims 1. To review the concept of ‘attitude’ 2. To consider the attitude-behaviour link 3. To consider changing attitudes/behaviour 4. Discussion Points Dr T Reader. LSE. Part 1: Attitudes are a cornerstone of Social Psychology • Why? 1. Belief that attitudes influence (and can explain) social behaviour • E.g. voting intentions, financial decision-making, social interactions 2. Belief that attitudes can predict future behaviour, and are changeable • Relevance to you? Dr T Reader. LSE. But what is an attitude? Gordon Allport (1935) Prominent/ accessible in our mind Has a structure COGNITIVE… An attitude is…….."a mental or neural state of readiness, organised through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual's response to all objects and situations with which it is related" Triggers behaviour FOCUSSES ON THE INDIVIDUAL…BUT SOCIAL Dr T Reader. LSE. Is situational Wealth Politics Society Belief Behaviour Climate change Communities Work-life balance Social class Prejudice Social Psychologists measure attitudes towards… Religion Risk Organisations Teamwork Bullying Personality Education Health Age Products Gender Family Leadership Components of attitudes Cognition Behaviour Affect Feelings towards a person, object, or issue Behavioural tendencies towards a person, object, or issue For example… Reasoning on a person, object, or issue (E.g. Rosenberg & Hovland, 1960) + …but individual components only give limited insight, and are often seen in a social vacuum Dr T Reader. LSE. The utility of attitudes • Mental short cuts – • A way to express our values – • • E.g. Reduces the need evaluate others E.g. For social integration into groups Mental defence – E.g. To maintain psychological well-being (balance theory) – E.g. To protect our ego (e.g. against rivals) Orienting behaviour – E.g. towards others or objects (Fazio, 1989; Heider, 1946; Katz, 1960; Smith, Bruner, & White, 1956;) Dr T Reader. LSE. Attitude formation Experiential Social Direct experience with an object/event (e.g. trauma) Parents (e.g. moral values) Communities (i.e. values Conditioning (i.e. object change according to norms) association) Media (e.g. politics) Cognitive Information processing, mental structures, memory binding Cognitive association, and attitude activation (For summary, see Hogg & Vaughan, 2001: Chapter 5 ) Dr T Reader. LSE. How do you measure attitudes? We focus on outcomes of attitudes towards stimulus Stimulus Observable antecedents Cognitive: what you know Attitude Evaluative: what you feel ‘Attitudes’ are veiled Behavioural: what you do Hypothetical variable Rosenberg & Hovland (1960) – the Yale model Dr T Reader. LSE. Observable responses Attitude measurement • Thurstone (1928) – “attitudes can be measured” – Sets of statements are created and sorted by judges as positive/negative (very labour intensive) – Respondents endorse statements, and attitudes calculated • Likert (1932) technique – Respondents indicate agreement with groups of statements – 5-11 point scales are used; reliability is calculated – Summation of scores are used to calculate attitudes for individuals and groups • Implicit measurement (E.g. Mcrae et al., 1994) – E.g. response times to implicit stimuli; behaviour; physiological measurement (BP) Dr T Reader. LSE. Most attitude studies assess whether (and to what extent) we have positive or negative dispositions towards a construct (Photo: Ekman-style face set)…….. …then they work out what is normal, and where individuals/ groups lie... …and finally whether attitude influences behaviour But…the answers are only as good as the measures…. Sir Humphrey Appleby describes the perfect attitude survey Dr T Reader. LSE. Attitude and behaviour model Affect, behaviour, cognition Behaviour Attitudes Measured by Likert scales, association tests Formed by social, cognitive & organisational factors Dr T Reader. LSE. Discussion Point 1. …but can we really isolate individual attitudes from the social world? The majority of attitudinal studies focus on the individual… Dr T Reader. LSE. Part 2: The relationship between attitude and behaviour Research investigating attitudes and behaviour often use measures of the following: • Self-reports of behaviour (e.g. health behaviours) – • Observations (e.g. work behaviours) – • Problems: difficult to check validity, social desirability Problems: hard to ascribe intention; Hawthorne effects Implicit measures of behaviour – Problems: difficult to design; ethical drawbacks; measurement accuracy (e.g. Martin & Bateson, 1986) Dr T Reader. LSE. Attitudes towards health can predict behaviour (e.g. smoking, condom use)… …but positive attitudes are not enough: belief and efficacy also key… Attitudes towards race, class, and gender predict prejudiced or political behaviours… …but often social attitudes are implicit, inconsistent, and shaped by situational factors… Attitudes towards job satisfaction, safety, and management predict work behaviour… …but work behaviours also shaped by workplace norms and personal relationships… Dr T Reader. LSE. (Manstead, 1996; Ogden, 2001;Furnham, 1997) In addition, attitudes are more likely to predict behaviour when… …the attitude object is well-defined and salient – i.e. attitude must be specific and relevant …attitude strength is high – i.e. attitude must come easily to mind …knowledge supporting an attitude is plentiful – i.e. knowledge increases certainty in behaviour …attitudes support aspects of the self – i.e. they are consistent with beliefs (Pratkanis & Turner, 1994) Dr T Reader. LSE. Attitude and behaviour model Organisational behaviour Affect, behaviour, cognition But, attitudes frequently: 1. Do not predict behaviour 2. Do not remain stable 3. Are resistant to change Health behaviours Behaviour Attitudes WHY? Measured by Likert scales, association tests Social behaviours Formed by social, cognitive & organisational factors Dr T Reader. LSE. Discussion Point 2 Attitude change (winning hearts and minds) is a constant theme in modern society… …but do we change attitudes OR beliefs on the attitudes that are allowed to be publicly expressed? Dr T Reader. LSE. Part 3: Factors that influence attitude change and behaviour Psychologists have attempted to understand the factors that mediate the relationship between attitudes and behaviour… Dr T Reader. LSE. “Attitudes Versus Actions” (La Piere, 1934) Discrepancies… Eating out in 1930s US La Piere and two Chinese friends travelled the US. Ate in 250 restaurants Wrote to owners 92% of establishments (out of 128) stated that they did not accept Chinese customers Inconsistencies….(Campbell, 1963) Attitudes vary across situations, and according to need Social pressure shapes behaviour, and attitudes can be inconsistent (e.g. racial prejudice versus hospitality) General attitudes not predictive (e.g. morals & behaviour) Dr T Reader. LSE. Cognitive Dissonance (Festinger, 1957) A psychological tension… ...produced by simultaneously having opposing cognitions …reduced by changing attitudes, beliefs or actions …Festinger & Carlsmith’s classic experiment (1959) Dangerous behaviours Buyers remorse Attitudes are developed post-behaviour What are the implications for attitude-change programmes? Explains nudge theory? (Thaler and Sunstein, 2008) Dr T Reader. LSE. Theory of Planned Behaviour (Azjen, 1991) • Beliefs about outcomes • Evaluations of these outcomes • Beliefs about significant other’s attitudes to behaviour Attitude towards the behaviour Subjective norm Need more than positive attitudes towards behaviour Behavioural intention Behaviour • Motivation to comply with others • Internal control factors • External control factors Behaviour control (efficacy) Dr T Reader. LSE. E.g. Smoking cessation Theory of planned behaviour (TPB): evidence • TPB frequently used to explain health behaviour change (e.g. condom use) (Brubaker & Wickersham, 1990; Schifter & Azjen, 1985) • Meta-analyses only provide limited support (Albarracin et al., 2001; Webb and Sheeran, 2006) And doubts persists due to theoretical simplicity…. Emotion? Time? Correlation, not causation Hierarchies of beliefs? Dr T Reader. LSE. Attitude change – persuasion (Janis & Hovland, 1959) The target of persuasion must.. Whether the do this is influenced by… Ideally, resulting in… Pay attention to message from persuader The communicator: (e.g. expertise; likeable; confident Attitude change Comprehend the message The message: (e.g. non-direct; has clarity; presents arguments) Accept the message Retain the message The audience: (e.g. self-esteem; intelligence; willingness to change; personality But…persuasion is ongoing and unpredictable Outside influences? Other models? E.g. elaboration-likelihood (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) See Hogg and Vaughan, chapter 6. Dr T Reader. LSE. Attitude control The ‘inner check’ (Allport, 1954) The person who wishes to suppress an unacceptable attitude must regulate “appropriate thoughts, and quell inappropriate ones” (Wenger, 1994) This can result in “ironic suppression” (see the ‘white bear’ experiment; Wenger, Schneider, Carter & White, 1987) Dr T Reader. LSE. Devine (1989): Attitude control Devine (1989): Attitude control 1. Low and high prejudiced individuals do not differ on knowledge of stereotypes (n=40) 2. Subliminal priming can cause low-prejudice individuals to show prejudicial behaviour (termed stereotype activation) (n=323) Devine (1989): Attitude control Macrae et al (1994): Attitude rebound 3. Frequently, we inhibit or suppress negative attitudes towards others as we consider them to be immoral or socially unacceptable… …but…suppressing a negative attitude means that it is in our mind…and it can reappear if we are stressed or relaxed… From cognitive to social perspectives… E.g. Social representations: Critiques the focus on viewing attitudes as an ‘individual’ (and often divisive) construct…… ..…rather, knowledge is shared, negotiated, and embedded within social structures. (Moscovici, 1961; Howarth, 2006; Jovchelovitch, 2007) Dr T Reader. LSE. Discussion Point 3 Attitude change programmes attempt to develop homogenous attitudes towards numerous things (e.g. health)… …who should decide what is a good or bad attitude, and what does it mean for diverse beliefs and thoughts? Dr T Reader. LSE. Attitude and behaviour model Affect, behaviour, cognition Attitude consistency, strength, dissonance Situational factors; personality Organisational behaviour Health behaviours Behaviour Attitudes Implicit beliefs Measured by Likert scales, association tests Self-efficacy, social norms Social Reps Formed by social, cognitive & organisational factors Dr T Reader. LSE. Social behaviours Examples of my own interest in attitudes… • Attitudes towards risk and safety – • Attitudes towards management – • E.g. belief that management prioritise safety in air traffic control Medical staff attitudes towards patients • • E.g. risk-taking behaviours in oil industry E.g. for compassion Attitudes towards teamwork and shared decisionmaking – E.g. for senior doctors and bedside nursing staff collaborating to decide patient treatments; open communication about safety concerns Dr T Reader. LSE. Links to be made… • • • • Culture – E.g. Attitudes on beliefs, prejudice, society; Social reps – Allport, 1967; Ajzen, 1977; Greenwald, 1995; Howarth, 2006; Organisations – E.g. organisational commitment; risk-taking; job satisfaction – Ostroff, 1992; Zohar 2000; Sexton, Thomas, & Helmreich, 2000 Communication – E.g. Public opinion; attitudes towards science; voting behaviours – Lewis, 2001; Miller, 2004; Gaskell et al., 2004; Health, community and development – E.g. Changing health-related attitudes and behaviours – Bennet & Bozioneles, 2000; Campbell et al., 2010; Sniehotta, 2010; Dr T Reader. LSE. Questions for debate…. 1…can we really isolate individual attitudes from the social world? 2…do we change attitudes OR beliefs on the attitudes that are allowed to be publicly expressed? 3…who should decide what is a good or bad attitude, and what does it mean for diverse beliefs and thoughts? Dr T Reader. LSE. References (1) •Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Making Processes, 50, 179-211. •Albarracín, D., Johnson, B., Fishbein, M., & Muellerleile, P. (2001). Theories of reasoned action and planned behavior as models of condom use: A meta-analysis. . Psychological Bulletin, 127, 142-161. •Allport, G. (1935). Handbook of social psychology. Worcester, MA: Clark University Press. •Allport, G. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. •Campbell, D. (1963). Social attitudes and other acquired behavioural dispositions. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of science (Vol. 6). New York: Mcgraw Hill. •Devine, P. (1989). Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled components. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 5-18. •Ekman, P., & Friesan, W. (1975). Unmasking the face: A guide to recognizing emotions from facial clues. . Oxford, UK: Prentice-Hall. •Fazio, R. (1989). On the power and functionality of attitudes: The role of attitude accessibility. In M. Sorrentino & E. Higgins (Eds.), Attitude structure and function. New York: Guildford Press. •Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press. •Festinger, L., & Carlsmith, J. (1959). Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 203-210. •Heider, F. (1946). Attitudes and cognitive organization. Journal of Psychology, 21, 107-112. •Howarth, C. (2006). How social representations of attitudes have informed attitude theories: the consensual and reified. . Theory and psychology, 16, 691-714. •Janis, I., & Hovland, C. (1959). An overview of persuasibility research. In C. Hovland & I. Janis (Eds.), Personality and persuasibility (pp. 1-26). New Haven: Yale University Press. Dr T Reader. LSE. References (2) •Jovchelovitch, S. (2007). Knowledge in Context: Representation, community and culture. . London: Routlege. •Katz, D. (1960). The functional approach to the study of attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly, 24, 163-204. •LaPiere, R. (1934). Attitudes vs. Actions. Social Forces, 13, 230-237. •Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of Psychology, 22, 44-53. •Macrae, C., Bodenhausen, G., Milne, A., & Jetten, J. (1994). Out of mind but back in sight: Stereotypes on the rebound. . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, , 67, 808-817. •Martin, P., & Bateson, P. (1986). Measuring behaviour: An introductory guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. •Moscovici, S. (1961). La psychanalyse, son image et son public. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. •Petty, R., & Cacioppo, J. (1979). Issue-involvement can increase or decrease persuasion by enhancing message-relevant cognitive responses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 751-783. •Rosenberg, M., & Hovland, C. (1960). Cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of attitude. In M. Rosenberg, C. Hovland, W. McGuire, R. Abelson & J. Brehm (Eds.), Attitude organization and change: An analysis of consistency among attitude components. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. •Smith, M., Bruner, J., & White, R. (1956). Opinions and personality. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons. . •Sunstein, C., & Thaler, R. (2008). Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness: Yale Press. •Thurstone, L. (1928). Attitudes can be measured. American Journal of Sociology, 33, 529-554. •Webb, T., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Does changing behavioral intentions engender behavior change? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 249-268. •Wenger, D. (1994). Ironic processes of mental control. Psychological Review, 101, 34-52 Dr T Reader. LSE.