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For this discussion, attitude theories have been organized into four categories see
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For this discussion, attitude theories have been organized into four categories see The study of attitudes has been approached with varying emphases and methods during most of this century.
Prior to World War II, the emphasis was on definition issues and attitude measurement. Most studies were of a survey nature and provided important correlational findings, but little insight into causality. This changed dramatically during World War H. Attitude change was an important topic of Army-sponsored research see 1. Because of the influence of experimental psychologists such as Carl Hovland, true experimental techniques were used to study the persuasive effects of propaganda.
The work of Hovland and his associates in the area of attitude change research was continued after the war at Yale University. Most of Hovland's attitude change research can be considered classical. Most of this research and theory building approached the concept of attitude from the behaviorist perspective, and most research activities dealt with trying to relate attitudes to observable outcomes in learners.
An example of research of the classical type that demonstrated a consistency theory approach was Simonson's study of dissonance theory principles. In this study, cognitive dissonance theory Festinger, assumptions, one of the most influential consistency theories, were used in a formal program of attitude change in order to improve student attitude toward an instructional activity.
Student achievement in this instructional activity was then measured to determine if achievement was influenced by a change in student attitude toward instruction. Randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups were students. Students in the experimental treatments were asked to make a videotape about their attitudes toward an instructional activity. An "Instructional Improvement Needs Assessment" was the tide given to the fictitious activity that in reality was the research study.
First, students were given a camouflaged attitude pretest. Then, students were met individually by a researcher who told them that:. I am a member of a committee in the college called the Instructional Improvement Needs Assessment Committee. We are attempting to obtain as much information as possible about student's opinions of college courses.
This is difficult, so we are asking for several different types of information. Control group: "I would like you to complete this Needs Assessment opinionnaire. You can fill it out in the next room. Answer on the score sheet and when you finish place the opinionnaire and answer sheet in the box. Nonrelevant treatment group: "The entire committee would like to study your opinions, so I will give you several minutes to think of everything positive you can about a course irrelevant to the study and to the attitude tests.
Then I will take you to the next room where we will ask you to state your positive comments while you are being videotaped. We need to videotape you so that the entire committee can get together and observe all the videotapes. I'll give you 5 minutes to collect your thoughts.
Relevant experimental group: The experimenter read the same comments to students assigned to this group, with one exception; they were given the name of the course that the study was attempting to change attitudes about. Students in the "irrelevant" and "relevant" groups were given time to jot down ideas and then were escorted into the video-recording room where their comments were recorded. When they were finished, they were told that "faculty and students will be viewing this tape.
Subjects in the "relevant experimental treatment" who initially had low attitudes toward the course in question were expected to experience dissonance when they stated positive comments about this course. The dissonance-producing experience was heightened by leading the students to believe that a group of peers and faculty would view the videotapes.
The videotaping session and the signing of the release were included to make the treatment procedures as forceful and irreversible as possible. The two other treatments were included to control for the impact of videotaping and for change due to extraneous events. Simonson also tested the persistence of the attitude changes and reported that while there was a regression to the mean, student's attitudes remained positive 6 weeks later.
There was only a minor and statistically insignificant relationship between attitude change and achievement. This study showed in an experimental situation with real-world implications, that it was possible, even simple, to modify student attitudes toward an instructional event, in this case a college course.
Simonson used video recording as a technique to "cement" and make irreversible a student's attitude positions. No one would argue that the video recording itself changed attitudes.
The forces that changed attitudes were the arguments created by the student that were recorded on the video. In this situation, the video recording was a methodological tool of the researcher.
This chapter will tend to show that in media and attitude research the role of media is as a tool. Media do not influence attitudes; messages and methods do. Simonson's study is an example of the type of attitude change research often reported in the literature between the s and today.
Certainly, human subject regulations would force modification in Simonson's approach if it were replicated today. However, the behavioral and experimental approach taken is typical of the research used to identify and support the consistency theories of attitude change summarized next. Early attitude change literature is firmly anchored in traditional experimental psychology and draws heavily on behaviorism see 2. The basic assumption of these theories is the need of the individual for consistency.
There must be consistency between attitudes, between behaviors, and among attitudes and behaviors. A lack of consistency causes discomfort so that an individual attempts to ease the tension by adjusting attitudes or behaviors in order to once again achieve balance or consistency.
Relationships among the perceiver, another person, and an object are the main focus of balance theory Heider, Relationships are either positive or negative, based on the cognitive perceptions of the perceiver. In this theory, there are eight possible configurations; four balanced and four unbalanced.
Unbalanced states are recognized as being unstable. Under these conditions, perceivers attempt to restore balance by changing their attitudes toward objects or other persons. Newcomb studied interpersonal situations as well as cognitive balancing and transferred these ideas to research on the pressures for uniformity in groups. Establishing balance was critical to individuals. Attitude changes occurred when the individual attempted to reestablish balance by modifying their attitudes.
Affective-cognitive consistency theory examines the relationship between attitudes and beliefs Rosenberg, An unstable state occurs when an individual's attitudes toward an object and knowledge about an object are inconsistent. Persuasive communications see 4. In Other words, providing an individual with new information that changes the cognitive component of attitude will tend to cause that individual to change overall attitudes toward an object.
An alternative to Rosenberg's theory is Festinger's theory Of cognitive dissonance Festinger, While Rosenberg's theory deals with affect and cognition, Festinger's theory examines consistency among cognitive elements or beliefs about oneself, behavior, or environment.
Dissonance occurs when elements are logically inconsistent or psychologically inconsistent because of cultural mores, specific opinions deviating from more encompassing opinions, or information or experiences that are contrary to previous information or experiences.
Dissonance motivates the individual to reduce the dissonance and return to consonance. When faced with dissonance, the individual seeks to avoid situations or information that may increase dissonance. To test dissonance theory, Festinger and Carlsmith reported on an experiment that is considered one of the most controversial ever conducted in the area of attitude change.
It was also one of the most influential. This study lead to numerous modified replications, including Simonson's study reported here earlier. Male undergraduates spent an hour performing two tasks that had been designed to be very boring: putting spools onto a tray and turning pegs on a board.
Afterwards, the experimenter told them that the study concerned the effect that a prior expectation had on task performance and explained that participants in another experiment were being given a favorable expectation about the task. According to the researcher, this expectation was usually conveyed by an assistant who told a waiting subject of the study that the experience had been enjoyable and intriguing.
The experimenter then claimed a white lie, one of several told by researchers that the assistant who was supposed to perform the chore had not shown up. The researcher then asked the student who had just finished the boring task to fill in for the absent assistant by conveying this story to the study's next participant. The researcher promised the student money for this service and for being on call in the future if help were needed again.
The college male was told that the decision to help was up to him. Festinger and Carlsmith introduced the critical dissonance theory incentive at the point when money was mentioned. Because the inducement to comply with the researcher's request was much greater with the larger amount of money, the counterattitudinal behavior should have been considered by the students as justified, and little dissonance and attitude change produced. This was predicted to produce maximum dissonance and maximum attitude change.
This person appeared to be convinced by the student's story. Next, the students were referred to an interviewer who was supposedly conducting a survey unrelated to the experiment, This interviewer asked, among other things, how interesting and enjoyable the experimental tasks involving the spools and pegs had been. The results of the experiment confirmed Festinger's prediction that increased justification for role playing i.
Their actions advocating the enjoyability of the peg and spool activity, and the reality of the boring activity, were dissonant from one another. In order to reduce the dissonance, it was easier to change their attitudes toward the activity to be more positive than it was to change their praising of the activity.
Thus, attitude change occurred to reduce the student's level of dissonance. They were able to say in their minds: "I did it for the money; it really was boring. Consistency theories, notably cognitive dissonance theory, provide relatively straightforward, if incomplete, information about attitude change.
Studies on counter-attitudinal advocacy are based on dissonance theory. Individuals who are asked to write an essay or present a speech promoting a position contrary to their beliefs become committed to certain aspects of the contrary position. This causes dissonance, which the individuals attempt to reduce by changing their original position or attitude.
The stronger the magnitude of the dissonance, the stronger the need to change the original attitude. The simple act of decision making creates dissonance, too. The magnitude of the dissonance is related to the importance of the decision and the attractiveness of both the chosen and the unchosen alternatives O'Keefe, For example, hypermedia-based instructional systems see One of the major criticisms of consistency theories is that there are too many of them.
Since they all work from the similar theme of an individual's trying to maintain consistency, it has been suggested that the area would be stronger if the various subtheories were consolidated. This loss of interest is, in part, due to the growth of understanding about the conditions and processes responsible for the phenomena dissonance theorists investigated.
Sie zeigen, wie Eigenschaften des Kommunikators z. Dabei wird auch diskutiert, wie nachhaltig solche Persuasionseffekte sind Sleeper-Effekt. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content.
Communication and Persuasion: Psychological Studies of Opinion Change. By Carl I. Hovland, Irving L. Janis and Harold H. Kelley. (New Haven: Yale.
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Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. In the process he worked unremittingly "to improve the standards and quality of research in psychology and related fields," earning in the words of one of his longtime coworkers universal recognition as a "statesman of the social sciences" Janis, , p. Hovland also served as an insightful and trusted consultant to numerous governmental and educational agencies, industrial organizations, and philanthropic foundations.
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