Attitudes & Behavior: Attitudes & Behavior November 9, 2006 Do Attitudes Determine Behavior?: Do Attitudes Determine Behavior? An underlying assumption in persuasion research is: Shift a person’s attitude in the right direction and behavior will follow.
If people see the value of wearing their seatbelt then they are more likely to actually wear it.
If people think that smoking is bad for their health then they will quit.
Basic Questions: Basic Questions Is there a relationship between attitudes and behavior and, if so, how strong is it?
When might such a relationship exist?
How do attitudes influence behavior? In other words, what is the psychological process? Do Attitudes Predict Behavior? Yes, but not strongly.: Do Attitudes Predict Behavior? Yes, but not strongly. Classic Study of Cheating
Relationship between attitudes toward cheating and actual cheating behavior.
Students took True-False exam then asked to assign themselves a score.
Instructor also graded the exam.
Discrepancy between student’s self-assigned score and instructor’s score was measure of cheating behavior.
Relationship between attitude toward cheating and actually cheating close to zero.
Those who did poorly more likely to cheat.
Meta-analysis of attitude studies showed less than .30 correlation between attitudes and behavior.
Attitude-Behavior Survey: Attitude-Behavior Survey Students should read
Homelessness is a problem
I should exercise
I should recycle
I should designate a driver
I should vote
Should change strategy to fight terrorism
When do attitudes predict behavior?: When do attitudes predict behavior? Are there factors that make attitudes more or less predictive of behavior?
4 Factors that Impact the Relationship:
Qualities of the…
Behavior (General vs. specific)
Person (Who is being asked)
Situation (When and how are they being asked?)
Attitude (How was the attitude formed?) Behavior Being Predicted: Behavior Being Predicted Attitudes and behaviors must be measured at the same level of specificity.
Example: A person’s attitude toward their general health will not predict their propensity to jog.
Specific attitudes will predict specific behaviors.
Person You Ask: Person You Ask Certain peoples’ attitudes are more consistent with their behaviors than others.
Example: High Self Monitors
A high self monitor changes their behavior depending on the situation. A low self monitor behaves the same way across situations.
Are you a high self monitor?
The behavior of low self monitors is consistent with their expressed attitudes. Situation in Which You Ask Them: Situation in Which You Ask Them Whether attitudes predict behavior may depend on the context in which you ask the question.
Norms can be so strong that it is unlikely that overt behavior will reflect private attitudes.
Example: People who hate their jobs will still go to work because of normative and financial incentives.
Attitudes toward work predict attendance when obligation to attend is removed.
Question: How many people would show up if I made one class “optional”? Additional Situational Factors: Additional Situational Factors Attitudes are more predictive of behavior when:
People have a vested interest in the issue.
When people are under time pressure.
When situational cues make your attitude salient (a focus of attention).
Situations can be changed to make attitudes more predictive. Job Satisfaction and Performance: Job Satisfaction and Performance Studies have shown consistently that happy workers are not necessarily more productive.
Why do think this is the case?
How can job attitudes become more predictive of behavior at work?
Recent study shows that happy workers don’t make firms more successful, but successful firms make their employees happier. How do Attitudes Actually Predict Behavior?: How do Attitudes Actually Predict Behavior? Two theoretical models that explain why attitudes predict behavior.
Theory of Reasoned Action:
Theory relevant when the behavior is thoughtfully planned in advance.
Attitude-To-Behavior Process Model
Theory relevant when behavior is a spontaneous reaction to one’s immediate situation. Planned Behavior: Planned Behavior Decision to Protest Parking Lot: Decision to Protest Parking Lot Attitude Formation:
Saving trees is important to me. Environmental protests are effective.
My friends are going to protest and they might not talk to me if I don’t.
Result: I intend to protest and my intention will result in action. Decision to Stay Home: Decision to Stay Home Attitude Formation:
Protests never work and there are enough trees in Ithaca anyway.
My friends think protesting is stupid and they will think I am weird if I go.
I intend to stay home. Spontaneous Behavior: Spontaneous Behavior Sometimes people’s attitudes will result in a spontaneous (unplanned) behavior.
Example: If you hate cockroaches then you don’t have to think about what to do when you see one.
Reason: Some attitudes are more accessible (memorable) than others. Attitude Accessibility: Attitude Accessibility Attitudes guide our interpretation of an object or a situation.
If the attitude is memorable than it will have an immediate impact on our behavior.
If the attitude is not memorable than it will impact our behavior only when recalled. Attitude Change Through Priming: Attitude Change Through Priming Title: ILR (Development/Recovery) Exercise
“A recent external audit revealed that ILR has been (improving/declining) as an institution over the last decade. However, the audit was vague as to why this (improvement/decline) might be occurring. As a group, please list all of the ways that the administration can (keep/get) ILR moving in the right direction. In other words, list all of the things you (like/dislike) about ILR.” Satisfaction with ILR: Satisfaction with ILR Student who were randomly assigned to think about things they didn’t like about ILR were also less satisfied:
With the academic resources at ILR
(p < .05)
That they are receiving a high quality education at ILR (p < .10)
With the variety of courses offered at ILR
(p < .05
That ILR has helped them prepare for career after college
(p < .10)
Self Serving Bias: Self Serving Bias On average, people believe that they are above average.
People take credit for their success but attribute failure to external/situational factors.
Egocentric bias in groups such that each person believes they contributed more than any other person. Satisfaction with Yourself: Satisfaction with Yourself On average you listed 6.5 strong statements vs. 4.9 weak statements, t (45) = 4.37, p < .01 In Sum : In Sum In general, the relationship between attitude and behavior is weak.
However, it is possible to strengthen this link.
Combine attitude with social pressure.
Make attitude memorable.