• Allport 1935 – Social attitude has 5 aspects:
1) It is a mental and neural state,
2) of readiness to respond,
4) Through experience
5) Exerting a directive and/or influence on behavior
• Attitude is a learned, relatively enduring organization of beliefs about an
object or situation which leads to a disposition to respond or rather a
readiness to respond in a given way.
• Drive, motive and attitude
4. • Distinguishing features of attitudes (Sherif 1956)
1. Attitudes are not innate
2. More or less lasting
3. Imply a subject-object relationship
4. Involve individuals as well as groups
5. Motivational-affective properties
6. Shared by the members of a group
5. COMPONENTS OF ATTITUDES (KATZ
Components Relationships Rewards Sources Change process
Cognitive Consistency Social reality Internalization Balance, congruity
Affective Feelings Social identity Identification(Attr
Action/Behavior Situations Social support Compliance
• Each of these vary in direction, valence and multiplicity.
6. • Affectively based attitudes
– An attitude based more on people’s feelings and values than on beliefs about the nature of
• Cognitively based attitudes
– An attitude based primarily on people’s beliefs about the properties of an attitude object.
• Behaviorally Based Attitude
– An attitude based on observations of how one behaves toward an attitude object.
7. FUNCTIONS OF ATTITUDES
• Adjustment function
• Ego defensive function
• Attitudes of prejudice
• Value expressive function
• Knowledge function
8. FORMATION OF ATTITUDES
• Formed in context of person’s
– group affiliation, and
– responsibility development.
9. MEASUREMENT OF ATTITUDES
1. Methods of social distance (Bogardus 1924)
2. Thurstone’s method of equal appearing intervals
3. Likert’s method of summated rating
4. Guttman’s cumulative scaling
5. Osgood’s Semantic differential technique
10. MEASURES OF SOCIAL DISTANCE
• Bogardus 1924
• Various degrees of social intimacy
• He asked the respondents to indicate in which group they would admit members of
various groups in the US
1. To close kinship by marriage
2. To my club as personal chums
3. To my street as neighbors
4. To employment in my occupation
5. To citizenship in my country
6. As visitors only to my country
7. Would exclude from my country
11. • Americans generally asserted that Englishmen and Canadians were the most
acceptable people. Hindus, negroes and Turks were on the other extreme.
• Social distance remained unaffected by space, time and race in the US.
• B Kuppuswamy also applied this method in Madras, and found the social distances of
various ethnic groups in India
12. THURSTONE’S METHOD OF EQUAL
• If a person indicates the statements he accepts or rejects, he can be located at a definite
position on the attitudes continuum.
• He collected a list of statements from several sources like newspapers, legislature
proceedings, pamphlets, opinions of colleagues, etc.
• These statements should represent every standpoint from complete acceptance to
• Arrange statements from extremely favorable to unfavorable continuum, using judges.
Thurstone used 300 judges
• Find median value of statements.
• Selection of a small number of statements representing each value position along the
• Finally test is administered and respondent asked to tick statements he is in agreement with
13. LIKERT’S METHOD OF SUMMATED
• Simpler than Thurstone’s
• A number of statements regarding issue have to be collected.
• The subjects is asked to indicate the strength of his attitude towards the statement on
a 5 point scale
• Doesn’t have an absolute system of units
• Interpreted on a relative basis
• Benefits – Doesn’t use judges and indicates the intensity and direction of opinion.
• Thurstone’s method has more reliability and absolute system of units.
14. GUTTMAN’S CUMULATIVE SCALING
• Counterpart to Bogardus’ technique
• Cumulative scaling method which helps to determine whether a set of statements are
• Although its concept is highly rational, it has not been found useful in selecting items.
15. OSGOOD’S SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL
• Osgood, Suci and Tannenbaum developed a system to measure connotation of the
words representing concepts.
• Factors of meaning
– Evaluative: Good/bad, beautiful/ugly, sweet/sour, kind/cruel
– Potency: strong/weak, deep/shallow, loud /soft, thick/thin
– Activity: fast/slow, active/passive, sharp/dull
17. PROCESS OF ATTITUDE CHANGE
• Cultures are stable when the attitudes are stable and consonant.
• However when attitudes are stable and social situation changes, social life becomes
• Two major kinds of changes
– Incongruent change (negative to positive/ positive to negative)
– Congruent change (direction is congruent with existing attitude)
• Attitude change induced by persuasive communication is inversely proportional to
strength of original attitudes.
• Attitudes anchored to values are difficult to change.
• Also depends on the attributes of personality
• Problem of group affiliation and attitude change.
18. • Primary condition for attitude change
– Newcomb: “change depends very generally on receipt of new
information, that is in some way relevant to the attitude object”
– When changes take place in the properties of the objects,
changes in the attitude towards the object are facilitated.
19. • Persuasion and attitude change
– Properties of attitude which is sought to be changed
– Properties of message
– Properties of the source
– Agent who communicates the message (expertness and
– Hovland advanced the hypothesis that when a person is
perceived as having a definite intention to persuade, he is not
20. Examples of Fear Messages
Seat Belt Use
• Odds of negative outcome (low)
• Time frame may be long between behavior and negative outcome
• Ability of control behavior (e.g., habit, addiction)
Why May They Not Work?
21. • Message factors
– Ethos, pathos and logos for attitude change
– Fear arousing appeals
• Commitment and attitude change
• Group affiliation and attitude change
22. Advertising --- Product Placement
Quite frequent (e.g., greater than 40 products displayed in the movie Iron
Why can this approach work?
• Defenses are down (do not recognize our attitudes are being manipulated)
• Failure to generate counterarguments
23. DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS
• Studies have shown that mass media is not as effective as informal face to face
• Barnett showed that innovation is the basis for cultural change
• Social norms are very significant for diffusion of innovation.
• For community development project, VLW were appointed which would influence
people to adopt innovations.
• Radhukar found that neighbor to neighbor communication was a greater means of
diffusion of farm innovation.
• Krishnamurthy, sterilized person could more easily persuade other to adopt it.
• Lazarsfield noticed that mass media had little influence on voting behavior. Concept of
opinion leaders and ‘step-flow hypothesis’
24. RESISTANCE TO ATTITUDE CHANGE
• Two aspects
– Problem of inertia
– Problem of barrage of communication reaching an individual
• Processed involved in resistance
– Selective exposure
– Balance principle
– Group affiliation
25. IMMUNIZATION AGAINST
1. Motivational and personality aspects: Self esteem, hostility, anxiety,
2. Rational aspects: person’s critical ability, reasoning
3. Commitment: pledge in public, active participation
4. Socratic effect: Inconsistencies, cognitive inertia and wishful thinking
5. Inoculation approach: McGuire 1964, analogy of biological processes, supportive and
inoculation, weakened counter-attitudinal propaganda.
26. THEORIES OF ATTITUDE
ORGANIZATION AND CHANGE
1. Reinforcement theory: Hovland and his associates
2. Consistency as organizing principle
3. Osgood and Tannenbaum’s congruity theory
4. Type theories
27. CONSISTENCY AS ORGANIZING
1. Heider’s theory of balance:
– Asserted that we tend to have a consistent and coherent view of the other person leading to
biasing effect. As a result experiences which are inconsistent with previous judgement may
not be absorbed quickly.
2. Rosenberg’s theory of Affective-cognitive consistency:
– Change occurs when the affective and cognitive components are mutually inconsistent.
Person may either strive for consistency by altering components or place the components
beyond the range of awareness.
3. Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance:
– Dissonance arises when there is inconsistencies between cognitive elements.
– Individual is prompted to change one of the elements to restore consonance.
28. OSGOOD AND TANNENBAUM’S
• When there is a favorable attitude towards an object it affects the attitude towards a
second object in the same direction.
• Principle of congruity can operate when two attitudes are linked through assertion.
• A neutral object will be seen in a favorable or unfavorable attitude depending on the
object it is associated with.
• Eg. Person of great prestige praises another of low prestige.
29. TYPE THEORIES
1. Katz’s theory
– Individual strives to maximize the rewards and minimize the costs and penalties.
– Attitudes help to defend a person’s ego.
2. Keilman’s three process theory of attitude change
In forming an attitude a person shows readiness to respond. It results in a state of preparation or readiness to respond in a particular manner under particular circumstances. Attitudes can be formed in relation to social and non social stimulus situations. Social attitudes are formed towards persons or towards products of human interaction
Drive is a bodily state that initiates a tendency to general activity. It is a energy state. Experienced as tension or restlessness
Motive refers to behavior that is goal directed. Thus motive joins together a state of energy mobilization and a goal.
Belief is an assertion about the nature of some object, it is cognitive eg. Mangoes are sweet. While believes are personal, values are cultural, they are not mere assertions and have a affective as well as a action tendency.
Attitudes as functioning dispositions are extremely complex. There are beliefs and feelings about persons, institutions etc.., in the social environment.
Cognitive component consists of beliefs which an individual has about objects.
Affective component refers to feelings/emotions connected to the object. Whether it is liked or disliked, pleasant or unpleasant.
Action tendency involves the behavioral readiness associated with the attitude.
Eg. New car – u like it – belief about its engine/design – go for a test drive
Favorable or unfavorable refers to direction of attitude. Valence refers to degree of positivity or negativity i.e. highly favorable or mildly favorable. Eg. Political party. Multiplicity refers to your beliefs about the party and its programs.
Similar to Indian concepts of vasana and samskara (sanskar)
The success of various attitude change techniques depends on the type of attitude we are trying to change. As we saw earlier, not all attitudes are created equally; some are based more on beliefs about the attitude object (cognitively based attitudes), whereas others are based more on emotions and values (affectively based attitudes). (Fabrigar & Petty, 1999; Shavitt, 1989; Snyder & DeBono, 1989)
According to Daryl Bem’s (1972) self-perception theory, under certain circumstances, people don’t know how they feel until they see how they behave. We can form our attitudes based on our observations of our own behavior. suppose you asked a friend how much she likes to exercise.
By forming acceptable attitudes, the person is able to achieve favorable responses from associates
Protects his ego from his own unacceptable impulses. Means of reducing anxieties created by his impulses. While adjustment refers to environmental factors, ego defensive refers to internal factors,
Prejudice helps us to sustain our self concept by making us imagine that we are superior to others.
While ego defensive functions prevents the individual from revealing his true nature to others and even to himself, value expressive functions can be expressed openly
Knowledge represents the cognitive component of the attitudes.
Thus if a person wants to satisfy his wants he develops attitudes. It is obvious that parents are extremely important in formation of attitudes as they control the rewards and punishments.
Attitudes are shaped by the information to which a person is exposed
Thirdly the group affiliation help in formation of the individuals attitudes. Peer groups. Indian parties have youth groups so that they are exposed to its ideologies.
Finally relation between attitudes and personality. Adorno et al started with the hypothesis that the antiseminism (the prejudice against jews) is a general pattern of prejudice than an isolated attitude. They found that persons who endorsed such views also had negative views about negroes and other minority groups in the USA. Developed a Fascism scale (F scale). High on aggressiveness, fear and ha strict childhoods.
Attitudes are measured on the basis of a person’s actions or verbal statements of belief or feeling or disposition towards the object.
Central problem for measurement is the scaling of test items.
“All humans should be respected”
Each word is rated on a 7 point scale. Meaning of the concept is the pattern of the subjects rating on the different adjective scales. Through the use of factor analysis three general factor of meaning were established.
Caste affiliation, creed affiliation, linguistic affiliation.
Study by kuppuswamy in madras
Change related to harijans, America and Russia.
Persuasion hardly affects basic cultural value.
Arsitotle, ethos is personal factor or source factor. Pathos when the message appeals to receivers feelings. Logos, the receiver is to make his own deductions.
Fear arousing appeals: insurance companies made a lot of money when plane services started in India. Relationship between fear and attitude change is a inverted u curve thus moderate fear is useful in bringing about the change
Festinger’s dissonance theory states that commitment to a behavior about which one has a negative attitude sets up dissonance. Dissonance sets up tension in the individual and motivates him to reduce the dissonance in some way. Eg. Students and vegetables.
Hovland highlighted the discrepancy between laboratory studies and the efficacy in the general population
Inertia prevents a person from giving up his old attitudes.
Excessive info reaching a person due to mass media and thus individual has to resist the communications to maintain his integrity and independence
Eg. Dietary habits, balanced diet
Individuals may seek some information and avoid others. Goes well with dissonance theory where the info causing dissonance may be avoided.
When one attitude is strongly linked to others.
Individuals say it cannot happen to me
One of the biggest examples of resistance is the survival of Hinduism despite moghal and british eras.
Reinforcement theory – attitude change arises when there is a change in opinion. Change in opinion about a politicians motives brings about a change in attitude about him. Eg. Smoking is harmful to health. Its an opinion but it gets the person thinking and question it. He may accept the new opinion based on the arguments put forward, the expected rewards or punishments. Acquisition of new opinions depends on attention, comprehension, and acceptance.
Cognitive elements include knowledge, opinion, or belief about env, oneself, one’s behavior and so on. Smoker knows that smoking is injurious to health and the behavior of smoking is dissonant the knowledge. Thus dissonance produces a state of tension.
Attitude influences behavior and behavior can influence a change in attitude. Simplest option is to change the behavior or he may change the brand, filter or take up pipe smoking.
To change attitudes, it is first necessary to know the type of attitudes a person is attempting to change.
Compliance occurs which an individual accepts the influence of another person or a group because he hopes to achieve a favorable reaction from that person or group.
Identification occurs when an individual adopts a behavior which helps him to identify himself with a person or the group held in esteem
Internalization: when a person accepts the influence because the induced behavior is now congruent with his beliefs and value system. As a result the induced attitude or behavior becomes intrinsically rewarding.