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1. The influence of attitude on decision making 2. Lesson Objectives <ul><li>To know how attitude can influence decision making…
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  • 1. The influence of attitude on decision making
  • 2. Lesson Objectives <ul><li>To know how attitude can influence decision making </li></ul><ul><li>To know the role of cognitive consistency/dissonance in attitude formation (Festinger) </li></ul><ul><li>To know the role of self perception in attitude formation (Bem) </li></ul><ul><li>To be able to use research studies to evaluate the above explanations </li></ul>
  • 3. Lesson Outcomes <ul><li>To have made some notes from a power point </li></ul><ul><li>To have made a poster summarising the above theories and related research </li></ul><ul><li>To have participated in essay ‘consequences’ on the lesson objectives </li></ul>
  • 4. Cognitive Consistency <ul><li>People prefer to be consistent in their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours </li></ul><ul><li>Research from the 1950s was the first to show this preference </li></ul><ul><li>When we do something that is contrary to our beliefs we need to restore the balance </li></ul><ul><li>One theory explaining cognitive consistency is the cognitive dissonance theory Festinger 1957 </li></ul>
  • 5. Cognitive Dissonance Theory <ul><li>When people act in a way that is contrary to their underlying beliefs and attitudes they experience discomfort or cognitive dissonance </li></ul><ul><li>This motivates then to adjust their attitude to fit in with their perceptions of their own behaviour </li></ul>
  • 6. An example of cognitive dissonance <ul><li>Everyone knows that smoking has potentially serious health risks </li></ul><ul><li>Continuing to smoke causes dissonance </li></ul><ul><li>There is an innate need to reduce the cognitive dissonance </li></ul>
  • 7. <ul><li>There are 3 ways to do this : </li></ul><ul><li>Change of behaviour- Give up smoking </li></ul><ul><li>Change of attitude or denial- Say smoking isn’t (that) harmful </li></ul><ul><li>Add a new cognition- I’ll give up after my exams </li></ul><ul><li>REMEMBER THESE THREE WAYS! </li></ul>
  • 8. <ul><li>Now make brief notes on the APFCCs from pages 396 and 397 NT or page 226 CC on Festinger and Carlsmith 1959 study </li></ul><ul><li>TEN MINUTES </li></ul><ul><li>This study also shows that we do not experience so much dissonance if we can blame counter attitudinal behaviour on external forces e.g. ‘My mates forced me to have a cigarette’ ( Choice and incentive see page 226 CC) </li></ul>
  • 9. Post Decisional Dissonance <ul><li>Cognitive Dissonance can also occur after a decision has been taken </li></ul><ul><li>I am looking for a new car </li></ul><ul><li>I buy one that I really like and is fuel efficient but later I wonder if I should have waited and looked at more cars </li></ul>
  • 10. <ul><li>I can avoid the dissonance by only looking at rave reviews of my car </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid any reviews that might suggest it is not as good as I thought </li></ul><ul><li>This is called the Selective Exposure Hypothesis </li></ul>
  • 11. <ul><li>Think of an example when you have used selective exposure to avoid dissonance </li></ul><ul><li>2 minutes </li></ul>
  • 12. Support for Cognitive Dissonance <ul><li>Kleinjan et al 2009 adolescents smokers in cognitive dissonance justified their smoking by believing it was beyond their control, they claimed it was due to their addiction to nicotine. </li></ul><ul><li>This is called a disengagement belief </li></ul><ul><li>They found that this disengagement belief had a strong negative correlation to motivation to quit </li></ul>
  • 13. Support for Cognitive Dissonance <ul><li>Zhou et al 2009 investigated whether having to reject people made pps less likely to want to form affiliations </li></ul><ul><li>All pps were made to reject job applicants without reasonable justification </li></ul><ul><li>Later the pps were less likely to wish to connect to others </li></ul><ul><li>The effect was greater with females than males </li></ul><ul><li>The effect was due to the dissonance between being a rejecter and forming affiliations </li></ul><ul><li>The pps had therefore adjusted their attitude to lessen the dissonance </li></ul>
  • 14. Arguments against <ul><li>Cooper and Fazio 1984 argue against Festinger saying that a state of dissonance does not inevitably lead to a change in attitude most people can tolerate a state of dissonance </li></ul><ul><li>They say attitude change would only occur if the inconsistency was likely to have unpleasant consequences AND they felt personal responsibility for the inconsistency . </li></ul><ul><li>Can you think of an example? </li></ul>
  • 15. Arguments against <ul><li>Lierberman et al 2001 found that people with amnesia showed more dissonance reduction than those with intact memories </li></ul><ul><li>This research with amnesiacs suggests that dissonance reduction is not a conscious process </li></ul>
  • 16. Approaches Commentary on Cognitive Dissonance <ul><li>Cognitive Dissonance Theory presents a huge challenge to Behaviourism which states that behaviour that is rewarded is reinforced and behaviour that is punished is eliminated </li></ul><ul><li>But our behaviour often transcends or even contradicts rewards and punishments </li></ul><ul><li>Tavris and Aronson 2007 predicted that if people go through a great deal of pain or effort to get something they are happier with that ‘something’ than if it came to them easily </li></ul><ul><li>This simply makes no sense within behaviourism but sits perfectly with CDT </li></ul><ul><li>An example is all the pain of training in order to get fit I would distort my view of the training to emphasise the good things and minimise/ignore the bad </li></ul>
  • 17. An alternative theory to decision making- Self Perception Theory <ul><li>Bem 1967 argues that people infer their attitudes by observing their own behaviour . </li></ul><ul><li>That is that we use exactly the same process to determine our own attitudes as we use to determine what the attitudes of other people are. </li></ul><ul><li>If I see you going out every week end and leaving your study until the last minute I determine that you do not care about you’re A level grades </li></ul><ul><li>Similarly if I spend my day off preparing this lesson for you I determine that I do care about your A level grades </li></ul><ul><li>This is Self Perception Theory </li></ul>
  • 18. <ul><li>Self-perception theory argues that much of the time </li></ul><ul><li>people do not know what their attitudes are. Instead they </li></ul><ul><li>infer them from their own behaviour. </li></ul><ul><li>The theory would interpret studies of post-decisional dissonance such as Knox and Inster’s 1968( page 397 NT) by arguing that the ‘punters’ in this case were unsure which horse would win until they placed the bet. </li></ul><ul><li>Then they would realise that they were confident about the horse they had chosen. </li></ul>
  • 19. Research Support for Self Perception Theory <ul><li>Holland et al 2002 found that people who had relatively weak attitudes to Greenpeace strengthened their support if they donated but remained unsure if they did not donate </li></ul><ul><li>Han et al 2003 Ideas from self perception are applied in market research see study page 227 CC </li></ul><ul><li>Bem 1967 see page 226 CC he did his own version of the Festinger study </li></ul>
  • 20. Is it really either Dissonance or Self Perception? <ul><li>Controversy has raged and to some extent still does. </li></ul><ul><li>Both have good applications and research support, in fact they often use the same research but interpret the findings differently </li></ul><ul><li>Fazio, Zanna and Cooper 1977 state that we need both theories </li></ul><ul><li>Deaux, Dane and Wrightsman 1993 dissonance theory applies when there is a huge difference between attitude and behaviour and/or the decision is of high importance </li></ul><ul><li>Self perception applies when the difference is not huge and/or the decision is not that important </li></ul>
  • 21. Posters on how Attitudes Influence Decision Making <ul><li>In your groups produce a poster that explains how each theory shows how people make decisions and how attitude change can occur. </li></ul><ul><li>Show how each theory is supported by research, even how the supporters of each theory might use the same piece of research </li></ul><ul><li>Include some methodological issues and some AID </li></ul><ul><li>Give examples where each theory has practical applications </li></ul>
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