The attitude-behavior link

Teaching Tip Sheet: Attitudes and Behavior Change
Lisa Bowleg, PhD
Georgetown University
APA, >= 1995
http://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/education/attitude-change.aspx

The study of attitudes has had a long and preeminent history in the field of social psychology (Eagly, 1992; Eagly & Chaiken, 1993).
The topic of attitudes is intrinsically appealing to psychologists and non-psychologists alike; we all hold attitudes about many different abstract (e.g., ideologies such as democracy and liberalism) and concrete (e.g., people, places, and things) attitude objects.
Attitudes are “psychological tendencies that are expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor” (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993, p. 1).

Although research on attitudes is dispersed among many topics such as the measurement of attitudes, the structures of attitudes and beliefs, and theories of attitude formation and change, research on the relationship between attitudes and behavior has consistently been one of the most prominent and debatable topics in the field of social psychology (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993).
Intuitively, the association between a person’s attitudes and her or his behavior makes sense.
However, contemporary research on attitudes has empirically demonstrated that attitudes correlate most reliably with behaviors when an aggregate of attitudes is related to an aggregate of attitude-relevant behaviors; and when a single attitude is related to a single attitude-relevant behavior (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993).

attitude-behavior consistency
attitude-behavior linkage
attitude-behavior link
attitude-behavior relation

Common sense is usu. right–after the fact

I KNEW IT ALL ALONG: IS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY SIMPLY COMMON SENSE?

The point is not that common sense is predictably wrong.
Rather, common sense usually is right— after the fact.
We therefore easily deceive ourselves into thinking that we know and knew more than we do and did.
And that is precisely why we need science to help us sift reality from illusion and genuine predictions from easy hindsight.

Chapter 1. Introducing Social Psychology
Myers, D. G. (2012). Social psychology (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.sg/html/9780078035296.html

related:
https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/which-comes-first-ideas-or-things

I-knew-it-all-along

I KNEW IT ALL ALONG: IS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY SIMPLY COMMON SENSE?

One problem with common sense is that we invoke it after we know the facts.
Events are far more “obvious” and predictable in hindsight than beforehand.
Experiments reveal that when people learn the outcome of an experiment, that outcome suddenly seems unsurprising—much less surprising than it is to people who are simply told about the experimental procedure and the possible outcomes (Slovic & Fischhoff, 1977).

Likewise, in everyday life we often do not expect something to happen until it does.
Then we suddenly see clearly the forces that brought the event about and feel unsurprised.
Moreover, we may also misremember our earlier view (Blank & others, 2008; Nestler & others, 2010).
Errors in judging the future’s foreseeability and in remembering our past combine to create hindsight bias (also called the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon ).

Chapter 1. Introducing Social Psychology
Myers, D. G. (2012). Social psychology (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.sg/html/9780078035296.html

related:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/9529546/Know-it-all-Or-perhaps-youre-suffering-from-hindsight-bias.html

Life’s ultimate questions

… As but one perspective on human existence, psychological science does not answer life’s ultimate questions:

  • What is the meaning of human life?
  • What should be our purpose?
  • What is our ultimate destiny?

But social psychology does give us a method for asking and answering some exceedingly interesting and important questions.
Social psychology is all about life—your life: your beliefs, your attitudes, your relationships.

Chapter 1. Introducing Social Psychology
Myers, D. G. (2012). Social psychology (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.sg/html/9780078035296.html