ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR
psychology attitudes and behaviour - Read More >
When and How do Attitudes Influence Our Behaviour.
Is there a possibility that attitudes do not always predict behaviour.
If So write down an example.
(Use an example from your own experience if you wish) (5 mins)
We are firstly going to look at 3 experiments which have contributed to
modern day Attitude-Behaviour Research
The first study to demonstrate a possible gap between attitudes and
behaviour was completed by LaPierre(1934)
Social Psychologist : Wanted to discover if people who had various
prejudices / negative attitudes towards the members of various social groups
would actually demonstrate these behaviours in their Overt(open) behaviour.
For approx 2 years LaPierre travelled around the U.S.A with a young
Chinese couple. They stopped at 184 restaurants and 66 hotels.
They were refused service only once and on the whole received a better
than average standard of service from the establishments visited.
After returning from 2 years travelling around LaPierre wrote to all the
businesses where he and the Chinese couple had dined / stayed. In a letter which
gave no indication of his previous visit, he enquired whether they would offer
service to Chinese Visitors and the results were as follows
ACETATE WITH BAR CHART FOR LAPIERRE
As you can see from the bar charts virtually all the businesses visited
served the Chinese couple. However most said in a mail survey that they would
not serve the Chinese Visitors.
These results demonstrate a tremendous gap between the attitudes
expressed by these businesses(mail survey) and their actual behaviour when
confronted by Chinese guests(in the flesh)
The Chinese with whom LaPierre travelled were attractive and spoke
English well. Faced with such persons the businesses ignored their own
LaPierre concluded that there is a sizeable gap between attitudes and
behaviour (what people say and what they actually do)
Working with the person sitting next to you write down 3 reasons why
there could be a problem the accuracy of this study.(5 Mins)
Methodological Problems with the LaPierre study are
1. Were the people who answered the mail research the same as the people
who allowed the chinese couple to stay or eat.
2. Only 50% of people completed the mail questionnaire.
3. Ajzen and Fishbein (1980) argued that LaPierre was trying to predict
specific behaviour from general attitudes (i.e taking into account general
attitudes towards Chinese People,instead of taking into account specific
attitudes demonstrated towards the Chinese Couple)(This is what prompted Azjen
and Fishbein(1980) to produce their theory of reasoned action.
DeFleur & Westie(1958)
Attempted to relate specific attitudes to specific behaviours in order to
overcome the problems of the LaPierre study.
Can you please make your own notes from what I am going to read out
In order to do this
DeFleur & Westie asked a large number of white students specific questions about Blacks and Whites to
gain a measure of prejudice.
The white students were then asked to be photographed with their black
30% of the white students behaved differently from their previously
expressed views ( this meant they were either prejudiced and agreed to be
photographed or were unprejudiced but refused to be photographed)
Again this demonstrates a difference between attitude and behaviour.
Theory of Reasoned Action- 'Correspondence' -- Fishbein and Ajzen(1975)
Behaviour may be accurately predicted if we know a person's attitude to
that behaviour, intention to perform that behaviour and what that person
believes to be the consequences of performing that behaviour. Also one needs to
know the social norms with respect to that behaviour, with all this information
Fishbein and Ajzen argue it is possible to predict the behaviour of the person.
Problems with this approach include
1) Peoples intentions (with the best will in the world) don't always
2) People can easily be distracted from carrying out their original
intentions (i.e if something important happens in your personal life it could
quite easily affect your behaviour to college work even if you started off with
When Do Attitudes Influence Behaviour ?
Firstly we need to understand the term moderators
Moderators : The different factors which affect when attitudes
Most Moderators are related to aspects of the situation, aspects of
attitudes themselves and aspects of individuals.
Aspects of the Situation
1) Situational Constraints - Ajzen & Fishbein (1980)
Sometimes people can't express their attitudes because doing so would be
contrary to the norms in a given social situation
2) Time Pressure - Jamieson & Zanna (1989)
When people are under time pressure they tend to fall back on their
attitudes more (Gut Feeling) Therefore the Attitude Behaviour Link is higher
when there is time pressure.
3) Situational Factors - Snyder & Ickes (1985)
We tend to prefer situations that allow us to maintain a close link
between our attitudes and behaviour. This tends to make us spend time in
situations in which what we say and what we do coincide. (i.e If you are a
cricket fan, you wouldn't hang around with a group who wants to ban the sport
because they think its boring)
Debono & Snyder (1995) - argue that because individuals tend to
choose situations where they can engage in behaviours consistent with their
attitudes, the attitudes themselves become strengthened and so become better
predictors of their behaviour.
Aspects of Attitudes Themselves
Behaviour is sometimes moderated by several aspects of attitudes.
Attitude Origins - Regan & Fazio(1977)-
Attitudes formed on the basis of direct experience often exert stronger
effects on behaviour than ones formed indirectly through hearsay.
Attitude Strength - Petvoka, Ajzen & Driver(1995) -
The stronger attitudes are the greater their impact on behaviour.
As well as strong attitudes exerting a greater impact on behaviour they
are also more resistant to change(in effect more stable over time)
Strength is defined by
1) the extremity or intensity of an attitude (i.e
how strong is the emotional reaction provoked by the attitude object)
2) Its Importance (how deeply the individual is affected personally by
Boninger, Krosnick and Berent (1995) argued that there were 3 factors
which played the major roles in the determination of attitude importance
a) Self Interest
b) Social Identification
c) Value Relevance
3) Knowledge (how much an individual knows about an attitude object)
4) Accessibility (how easily the attitude comes to mind in various
The strength of the attitude object-evaluation link in memory.(Obviously
the stronger the link the greater the ease that an attitude can come to mind)
5) Specificity(An example of specificity would be if you were
designing an attitude scale to try and find out whether people would regularly
attend cricket matches. It would be best to ask them about their attitudes about
attending cricket matches rather than asking about their attitudes in general to
the sport of cricket.)
Krosnick et al(1993) argued that all these components are related and play a role in attitude strength.
Aspects of Individuals
Some people use their attitudes as an important guide to behaviour (look
inwardly for behaviour)
Some people look around them and behave in a manner which they feel is
the closest to people around them in order to 'fit in' (look outwardly to find
out how to behave).This type of 'fitting in behaviour' is known as
DeBono and Snyder(1995) (Attitudes are seen as better predictors of
behaviour for low self-monitors)
How Do Attitudes Influence Behaviour
1) Theory of Planned Behaviour-Azjen & Fishbein(1980)
How we will act in a certain situation is dependent on our strength of
intentions with respect to that situation. A persons intentions are
influenced by 3 main factors, We are going to use an example of a person having
a tattoo. First factor is
a) attitude toward the behaviour in question
a1) Will the needle hurt while having the tattoo
b) subjective norms
b1) if the person thinks people will approve of the tattoo his intention
to have it done is likely to increase
c) perceived behavioural control
c1) how easy/ hard the behaviour is to accomplish. If the person views it
as easy they are more likely to perform it.
Attitude to Behaviour Process Model - Fazio (1989)
Attitudes which influence behaviour in an immediate manner (i.e when you
haven't got time to think for example a drunk walks into your path swearing and
cursing at you, you have to behave in a certain way to get yourself out of that
Attitudes are Related to behaviour especially if they are strong and
important and acquired through direct experience. Other factors which relate
attitudes to behaviour are if attitudes influence individuals' self-interest and
come readily to mind.
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