Application: How Do Attitudes Guide Behavior?
After decades of research showing that attitudes only guide behavior under certain conditions, researchers turned their attention toward understanding how attitudes guide behavior. In this Application, you will focus on the two relatively distinct processes by which attitudes guide behavior. One process is relatively thoughtful, conscious, and deliberate, and the other requires less thought, can be unconscious, and is often unintentional. Together, these two psychological mechanisms explain why you are likely to behave consistently with your attitudes.
To prepare for this assignment:
Read Chapter 3 in the course text, Persuasion: Psychological Insights and Perspectives, and think about the following issues and questions as you conduct your review:
What is the major distinction between the two theories of how attitudes guide behavior? To what types of behavior does each theory apply?
What is the primary purpose of Fishbein and Ajzen’s theory of reasoned action? What psychological construct most directly predicts behavior? What is a behavioral intention? How does the theory define the concept of an attitude? What two beliefs form the perception of a subjective norm?
What is the primary purpose of Fazio’s attitude-to-behavior process model? Using Figure 3.5 in the text, think about how attitude activation, selective perception, and the definition of the event influence behavior. Be sure to consider each step in the process and the factors that influence it.
What is the MODE model and how does it integrate the two process models above? What role does motivation, opportunity, and “determinants” play in whether attitudes guide behavior in a deliberate versus spontaneous fashion?
Ajzen proposed a revision of the theory of reasoned action that is called the theory of planned behavior. Click on the link, “TpB Model,” on the Theory of Planned Behavior Web site. Consider the variable that Ajzen added to the theory of planned behavior that makes it different from the theory of reasoned action, and whether you think it should be included in Fazio’s attitude accessibility model.
Consider whether you think measuring knowledge about the behavior or direct behavioral experience would improve the predictive validity of the theory of planned behavior.
Review the Frequently Asked Questions on the Theory of Planned Behavior Web site, specifically the question and answer to “What is the role of knowledge or information in the theory of planned behavior?” Do you agree or disagree with the way Ajzen answers the question?
Download the “Constructing a TpB Questionnaire” from the Theory of Planned Behavior Web site by clicking on the link. Think about how you would use the information in this document to create a measure of intentions to explore a cave (called “spelunking”).
The assignment (1–3 pages):
Describe the variable that Ajzen added to the theory of planned behavior that makes it different from the theory of reasoned action. Explain whether you think this variable should be included in Fazio’s attitude accessibility model.
Explain whether measuring knowledge about the behavior or direct behavioral experience will or will not improve the predictive validity of the Theory of Planned Behavior. Also explain why you do or do not agree with Ajzen’s view on this.
Describe how you would create a measure of intentions to explore a cave (called “spelunking”). Be sure to provide enough detail about how you would measure each component in your survey so that someone can follow your directions.