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Attitude Change Strategy

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Every individual has a unique way of evaluating objects, persons or events in their social world. We normally respond to others ideas, issues, and the entire social environment in a favourable or unfavourable manner. Social psychologists therefore refer to attitude as the predisposition to behave in a consistent evaluative manner towards others, groups, objects etc. Attitude is defined as the individual’s evaluation of any aspect of his/her social world (Olson & Maio, 2003). It refers to the general and relatively enduring evaluations people have of other people, object or ideas (Petty, Wheeler, & Tormala, 2003). According to Dillard (1993), there are several varying conceptualizations of attitude in social research. At different points in it history, the concept of attitude has been linked to emotional, cognitive and behavioural processes (Brecker & Wiggins, 1989). Therefore, the definition of attitude should consist of cognitive, affective and behavioural components (Rokeach, 1968, Ajzen, 2005).

According to Thurstone’s definition of attitude, it is referred to an affect for or against a psychological object (Ajzen, 2005). Ajzen and Fishbein (1975), defined attitude as a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favourable or unfavourable manner with respect to a given object. Petty and Cacioppo is of the view that attitudes are general and enduring positive or negative feelings about some person, object, or issues (Petty & Cacioppo, 1981). Attitudes are defined by Allport (1953, as cited in Myers, 2008) as a reasonably stable organization of beliefs, feeling and behavioural dispositions towards something or someone. He suggested that they can be described as feelings or evaluations, negative or positive, about some person, group, object or issues.

An examination of several definitions of attitudes by various scholars indicates that emotion, cognition and behaviuor are central to the definition of attitude with little regard to evaluation which should be considered the central component of attitude. Evaluations are the functions of cognitive, affect and behavioural intentions of a person. It consists of the attribution of some levels of faults to an attitude object. Categorizing an attitude object as being positive or negative therefore, should refer to the evaluative component. It is most often the evaluation that is stored in memory without the corresponding cognitions and affect that were responsible for its formation.

When we say that we like or dislike any aspect of our social world, it could mean that consciously or unconsciously, we have evaluated the stimulus. This is to say, that the tendency of people to evaluate any aspect of their social environment as positive or negative, something we like or dislike, implicitly or explicitly seems to be our first step in understanding and making sense of our socio – world.

Some attitudes are stable and resistant to change while others are unstable and show considerable variability depending on the situation (Schwarz & Borner, 2001). Some attitudes are clearly held while some are irresolute. When people question someone’s attitude, they refer to beliefs and feelings related to a person or event and the resulting behaviour, (Ozor, 2011). Our attitude towards a stimulus is being guided by our general beliefs or understanding of the attitude objects which stirs up our affective state, propelling us to like or dislike, accept or reject, honour or dishonour etc. It can therefore be inferred that people’s emotional feelings of an attitude object is as a result of their knowledge about the attitude object. Thus, favourable or unfavourable behaviour or responses towards any issues, ideas, objects, a specific behaviour or the entire social groups are influenced by thoughts and feelings. For instance, in a question as this, “what is your attitude towards the Nigerian president’s idea of withdrawing the fuel subsidy?” in such a case, one could see the idea as inhuman and cruel and an act capable of frustrating the citizenry or on the other hand, a welcome idea meant to stabilize the economy and frustrate the oil cabals. The amount of votes the president gets in the forthcoming election depends on one’s thoughts or belief which triggers one’s feelings to like or dislike the idea and the president or even the federal government in general depending on the vested interest or the strength of the attitude. Vested interest is the degree to which an attitude object makes sense to the attitude holder. Attitude strength refers to the extent to which attitudes are more likely to remain stable over time, resist influence, affect thought, and guide behaviuor. Attitude strength is associated with attitudinal persistence over time, resistance to attack, prediction of behaviuor, influence on information processing (e.g. Chaiken, Pomerantz and Giner-Sorolla 1995; Eagly and Chaiken, 1993; Krosnick, Boninger, Chuang, Berent and Carnot, 1993; Krosnick and Petty, 1995; Pomerantz & colleagues, 1995, as cited in Joan, 2002). Several attitudinal characteristics have been identified as indicators of strength, including the importance of the attitude object, the certainty or confidence with which the attitude is held, the intensity of related affect, the amount of knowledge regarding the attitude object, links between the attitude or attitude object and one’s self-concept or values, direct experiences with the attitude object, interest in attitude relevant information, attitudinal accessibility, attitudinal extremity, and consistency between the attitude and belief about the attitude object (Joan, 2002).

Researchers are of the view that attitude strength is multi dimensional construct and that its dimensions may not relate similarly to its consequences (Krosnick & colleagues. 1993; Pomerantz et al 1995, Raden, 1985). Pomerantz & colleagues (1995) found that high level of certainty and extremity fosters resistance to persuasion, but heightened level of importance, knowledge, and centrality did not. Haugtvedt & colleagues (1994) found that knowledge fosters resistance but attitudinal extremity and confidence did not.

Although, research has shown that attitude does not necessarily predict behaviour, but often it does affect behaviour, this is especially likely to be true when attitudes are strong and accessible (Ajzen, 2001; Bizer, Tormala, Rucker, & Petty, 2006; Fazio, 2000). Attitude strength is made up of the extremity, certainty, and degree of personal experiences. An attitude that is more extreme, certain and based on personal experiences are more likely to be accessible and directs behaviour than those that is less extreme and uncertain.

Research on the relationship between attitude and behaviuor had constantly been one of the most debatable topics in the field of social psychology (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993). Attitude correlates most reliably with behaviuor when an aggregate of attitude is related to an aggregate of attitude – relevant behaviuor, and when a single attitude is related to a single attitude – relevant behavuior (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993). In the context of drug abuse, an aggregation of drug relevant behaviours (e.g., using drugs, carrying drugs, purchasing drugs etc) would provide a more reliable measure of drug abuse when these behaviours are matched to an aggregation of a person’s attitudes towards drug (e.g., attitude about the preventive efficacy of drug, attitude about the enjoyment of drug, the availability of drug etc).

Recent research has demonstrated that some attitudes act as stable predispositions, having strong impact upon people’s thoughts and actions, while some attitudes are less stable, having less of influence upon thoughts and actions and that it is the strength of attitude that is responsible for such difference.

Strong attitudes are ones we are committed to and can ague for. Hence, they are more likely to be accessible when we react and they are particularly likely to influence our behaviour. According to the attitude-to-behaviour process model, some events activate an attitude, that attitude, once activated, influences how we perceive the attitude object. At the same time, our knowledge about what is appropriate in a given situation is also activated. Together, the attitude and the previously stored information about what is appropriate or expected shape our definition of the event, this perception, in turn, influences our behaviour, (Fazio & Roskos-Ewoldsen, 1994).

Attitude exists in two different levels. Implicit attitudes reflect the automatic and unconscious evaluations of stimuli and are not influenced by deception or concerns of self-image (Jelence & Steffens, 2002). They represent introspective thoughts of unidentified past experiences which determine feelings towards social objects (Dovidio, Kawakami, Johnson, Johnson & Howard, 1997). Implicit attitudes can have considerable effects on behaviour if an individual lacks the intention, motivation or does not have the cognitive resources available to counteract their implicit attitudes (Blair & Banaji, 1996; Dovidio, Plant, Amodio, Harmon-Jones & Vance, 2002). Without these attributes, individuals collude with attitudes held by dominant groups and as studies have shown, will stereotype more, as implicit attitudes automatically depended upon ( Plant & colleagues, 2002).

Explicit attitudes are the consciously controlled, deliberate responses from an individual regarding a stimulus (Rudman & colleagues, 2002). It is greatly affected by self-presentation concerns and the fear of being evaluated and so may be considered less reliable predictors of behaviour (Rudman & colleagues, 1999). While an individual may assert one attitude explicitly, their implicit attitudes may be better predictors as to how that individual is likely to behave. However, in cases of highly stigmatized behaviour, explicit attitudes may be stronger and more accurate predictors of subsequent behaviour (Sherman & colleagues, 2003).

Contrary to what has thus far been presented, some studies have shown that individuals’ implicit and explicit attitude responses are not always inconsistent. Although not well documented, the relationship between the two measures can be strong (Lepore & Brown 1997; Sherman, Rose, Koch, Presson & Chassin, 2003). Jelence and Steffens (2002) found implicit attitudes towards the elderly when compared to younger people are more negative, which also reflects general explicit attitudes. Similarly, Livingston (2002) alludes to studies where African Americans exhibit high self-esteem in both implicit and explicit measures. Rather than examining studies where implicit and explicit attitudes reinforce one another, some suggest both implicit and explicit attitudes operate in different ways, with both exerting influence over behaviour. Explicit attitudes have been found to predict deliberate behaviours whereas implicit attitudes mainly predicted spontaneous behaviours (Dovidio & colleagues, 2002).

Wilson & colleagues, (2000), suggested that explicit attitudes are deliberate, thought-out responses in situations where people have a motivation to consider the best options of responses. Implicit attitudes on the other hand, are believed to influence behaviours which are more difficult to control as the individual is not aware these behaviours are occurring, such as nonverbal behaviours.

Indeed both explicit and implicit attitudes may be valid measures that predict different types of behaviours (Dovidio & colleagues, 1997). When considering which attitude type influences behaviour to a greater extent, consideration of time available to the individual may be required. With sufficient time and energy, the individual can deliberately control their responses to a situation or stimulus and we may conclude explicit attitudes will most likely play the greatest role in influencing behaviour. In situations when an automatic response is required (little time available) and no self-regulation or monitoring can be undertaken, the prevalence of implicit attitudes may take over being the most accurate factor in predicting behaviour (Dovidio & colleagues, 2002; Wilson & colleagues, 2000; Dovidio, Plant & colleagues, 2002).

A dual model of attitudes has been proposed by Wilson & colleagues, (2000). It suggests the differences often obtained between implicit and explicit measures of attitudes are not different attitudes as such, but rather, differences caused by self-presentation concerns. It may be suggested then people have a single attitude, which can be suppressed when explicitly measured (Wilson & colleagues, 2000). Furthermore, rather than an old attitude being completely erased, it can be changed into a new attitude, (the explicit attitude), while the original (implicit attitude) resides in memory storage (Wilson & colleagues, 2000). Thus the idea of dual attitudes, does not mean both attitudes operate together, merely that both co-exist, one operating only when the other does not. As individuals interact with others in ways they are not consciously aware of (e.g. nonverbal behaviours), others may perceive and interpret that behaviour and respond accordingly. Thus, someone holding negative implicit attitudes about a person with whom they are interacting may unconsciously act in a manner which is indicative of those implicit attitudes. This is likely to cause the partner to respond negatively, fulfilling the prophecy the other holds about that person (Wittenbrink & colleagues, 2001).

Rudman & colleagues (2002) considers the differences in individual responses in implicit and explicit measures. They suggest people whom appear egalitarian and non-prejudiced in their views may still have internalized the negative evaluations associated with a particular group. This may occur simply through the process of awareness and exposure to existing stereotypes. Thus egalitarian attitudes will be different to their implicit attitudes, with the latter being associated with greater amounts of prejudice and negative evaluations (Rudman & colleagues, 2002). The basic point in the literatures regarding implicit and explicit attitudes is that both implicit and explicit attitudes can exert large influences on behaviour.

Attitudes are determined by the functions they serve. People hold a given attitudes because these attitudes help them achieve their basic goals (Katz, 1960). According to Katz, attitudes serve various psychological functions when held; attitudes serve instrumental function when we held positive attitudes to the things that reward us. We tend to promote those things that reward us and minimize punishment. When attitudes provide a fertile ground for people to properly organize and understand their world, it serves a knowledge function. The value expressive attitude helps to give positive expression to our central values and to the type of person we imagine ourselves to be (Ozor, 2011). Attitude helps us to protect our self esteem by the use of defense mechanisms. Eagly and Chaiken (1998) suggested distinguishing five main functions: object appraisal function, utilitarian or instrumental function, value-expressive, social adjustive and defensive function. Object appraisal function reflects the need for understanding and structuring environment, our perceptions and beliefs. Attitudes that serve object appraisal or knowledge function help us to give meaning to the environment, and to evaluate objects and events on basic level. Utilitarian or instrumental function exists in attitudes that maximize rewards and minimize punishments obtained from the environment. It is based on direct personal consequences of attitude object, or it encompasses personal interest related to attitude object. Value-expressive function is based on relationship between attitudes and values. This function implies that through the attitudes we express personal values, establish and communicate our identity. Social adjustive function refers on consequences of holding and expressing values in the domain of social interactions. Social adjustive function implies that through attitudes we can facilitate, maintain or even disrupt relationships with others. Defensive function implies that holding and expressing attitudes enable people to protect and defend the self from intra-psychic conflict trough ego-defense mechanism (Eagly & Chaiken, 1998).

In line with the dominant contemporary definition of attitudes as evaluations, object appraisal function is regarded as universal attitude function and all attitudes serve this function to some extent (Eagly & Chaiken, 1998; Fazio, 2000). In contrast, the relative importance and salience of other functions can vary from attitude to attitude, depending on personal characteristics, attitude object and situational characteristics (Eagly & Chaiken, 1998). Thus, with regard to main source of variation in attitude function, and accompanying way of defining attitude function in contemporary research, three main approaches can be distinguished (Tesser & Shaffer, 1990; Shavitt, 1989;Petty & Wegener, 1998): situational approach, individual or dispositional approach and object-centered approach. Situational approach to attitude function supposes that attitude functions are not fixed and invariable, but attitude toward same object may serve different function depending on situational characteristics. In line with such reasoning, definition of attitude function is based on manipulating situational characteristics. For example, situations that make salient personal consequences of attitude object elicit instrumental function, situation that underscores relationship between attitudes and values elicit value-expressive function, while situations that imply public expressing of attitude elicits social adjustive function (Lundgren & Prišlin, 1998; Shavitt & Fazio, 1987; according to Shavit, 1989; Maio & Olson, 1994; 1995a; 1995b). Object centered approach assumes distinguishing attitude object with regard to dominant attitude function.

According to this approach, there are attitude objects that dominantly elicit the same attitude function among majority of peoples (Shavitt, 1989). Thus, attitudes toward objects which primarily symbolize other concepts, values, personal or social identifications likely serves value-expressive function or social adjustive function, while attitudes towards object which are connected with rewards and punishments likely serves instrumental function.

Individual approach to attitude function assumes that individuals differ in dominant attitude function toward same object. However, Eagly and Chaiken (1993) stated that such approach tends to ignore variations in functions across attitude objects and situation. In addition, Herek (1987) claimed it is plausible that attitudes of one individual can serve completely different functions in different domain of attitude objects. Such variations in attitude functions cannot be assessed without focusing directly on attitudes instead of general personal characteristics or attitude objects.

It can be concluded that there is individual differences on why people hold attitude, and that knowledge of the motivational basis of attitudes is necessary for understanding the principles of attitude change.

Attitudes are learned on the course of socialization. Some of our perceptions are acquired in the process of our interaction with others. Social psychologists have studied several ways in which individuals acquire attitudes. Attitudes are directly influenced through, personal experience, social interactions and positive or negative reinforcement. Attitudes are indirectly influenced through social learning and observation or by learning through association (Fossey, 1993; Sdorow, 1990 cited by Eby & colleagues, 1998). Attitudes acquired through direct experience may be better predictors of later behaviour than attitudes formed through indirect experience. The superior predictive power of attitudes formed through direct experience is not necessarily a function of the amount of information about the attitude object available to the individual (Fazio & colleagues, 1978 cited by Eby & colleagues, 1998). Direct experience may affect the attitude formation process by altering the way in which available information is processed.

Classical conditioning is simple form of learning that involves involuntary responses and is acquired through pairing of stimuli (Agu & Omeje, 2008). Pavlov in his classical conditioning experiment stated that an unconditional stimulus produces unconditional response, but when conditional stimulus is paired repeatedly with unconditioned stimulus will elicit a conditioned response. Classical conditioning of attitude occurs when people are neutral towards an attitude object but when such object is repeatedly paired with a conditioned stimulus (e.g., reward), a conditioned response is elicited. Imagine having an unfavourable attitude towards daily alcoholic drinking, but coming home almost on daily basis to separate a fighting couple and been rewarded with a bottle of beer on each occasion for rightful intervention. In this case, it is possible to develop appetite for alcohol each time a sound comes from the couple’s direction.

Instrumental conditioning is basic form of learning where by a behaviour that brings about a favourable outcome or that promotes the avoidance of punishment is repeated. If one expresses or acts out an attitude towards some group, and this is reinforced by one’s peers or social environment, the attitude is strengthened and is likely to be expressed again, (Omeje & Agu, 2008).

Observational learning is also a basic form of learning that involves a person acquiring a new behaviour or attitude simply by observing others. Many Nigerian youth have acquired different kinds of attitude towards corruption simply by observing political office holders.

A person’s reference group serves as a standard by which a person can evaluate the appropriateness of his attitude and behaviours. Thus, reference group is particularly important as a source of our attitudes because its influence is pervasive, often unintentional, and usually not perceived, (Ugwuegede, 2006).

Attitudes are learned and can be driven or affected by feelings and they can be indicators of future behaviours. Understanding the successfulness of attitude change is the major concern of this seminar. Attitude change in direction that maintains consistency of behaviour, attitude change can be congruent or incongruent. Congruent change is when attitude is changed in the same direction as the existing attitude been changed, when attitude towards an object is been changed towards same particular object but may be on a given preference, for instance, when a person holds a positive attitude towards a particular dressing code but is motivated to change the attitude on colour preference but still maintain the attitude towards the same dress code. Incongruent attitude change on the other hand refer to attitude change on the opposite direction from the attitude been changed, this means to say that incongruence exist when a person with a positive attitude towards a particular dress code changes such attitude in totality.

Research has shown that the effects of attitude change depend on a host of individual and situational factors (Petty & colleagues, 1998). A range of factors produces attitude change by different processes in different situations. There are multiple specific processes that can determine the extent and direction of attitude change (Petty & colleagues, 1998). Based on the research evidence, Petty & colleagues (1998) consider it useful to divide the processes responsible for modifying attitudes into those that emphasizes effortful thinking about the main merits of the attitude object from those that do not. Such a framework allows understanding and prediction of the variables which will affect attitudes, by what processes in what situations and the consequences of these attitudes.

Attitude changes that occur as a result of deliberate mental effort are always stronger than those changed with little or no cognitive involvement and are more predictive of behaviour. Such attitudes are also more persistent and resistant to counter-persuasion than attitudes that are changed by processes involving little mental effort in assessing the main merit of the attitude object (Petty & colleagues, 1998). Petty & colleagues consider it useful to regard attitudes as falling along a continuum ranging from non-attitudes to strong attitudes (Fazio, 1986).

Persuasion is an intentional act with the sole purpose of appealing to people to dump their already held attitude and adopt another. It is an attempt to cause a change in beliefs, attitude or behaviuors by the use of message, (Myers, 2008). In Hovland’s view, we should understand attitude change as a response to communication (Hovland, C.I, & W. Weiss, 1951).The successfulness of persuasion depends on some aspect of persuasion that has received attention. People are better persuaded if the communicator is credible and is perceived knowledgeable and is trusted to communicate the knowledge accurately. Communicator’s attractiveness is another factor that matters in persuasion. Physically attractive people are more likely to persuade others (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993). The message and also the audience are of great importance in persuasion as the message is structured to meet the expectations of the audience.
Many theories have been studied by social psychologists in understanding attitude. Consistency theories view the desire or drive for consistency as a central motivator in attitude-formation and behaviour. Cognitive consistency is the mental agreement between a person's notions about some object or event. The underlying assumption is that when new information is contradictory or inconsistent with a person's attitudes, it will lead to some confusion and tension. This tension motivates a person to alter or adjust his/her behaviors. For example, when a person that has a positive attitude towards religion and God but still deviate from the acceptable behaviour that is required. Information about the consequences of sin and hell create tension. When the tension due to inconsistency between attitude and behaviour is no longer tolerable, sinners may adjust their behaviuors by giving up worldly possessions.

All consistency theories are based on the belief that people need to be consistent or at least perceive themselves as consistent. There is a human tendency toward balance, often called homeostasis. When there is imbalance in the human cognitive system, attitude and behaviour change tend to result. Most consistency theories (Heider's balance theory, 1946, Osgood & Tannenbaum's congruity principle, 1955) attempt to predict the nature and degree of change that occur under conditions of inconsistency. The best known of the consistency theories is Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance.

Festinger (1957) developed a theory that has attracted much research, speculation, and argument over the long term. Festinger was of the view that once a person has made an important decision, he or she is in a committed state. If alternatives are presented, the person is susceptible to cognitive dissonance or psychological discomfort. This is based on the need to have consistency among one's cognitive elements. For example, when a truthful person is appointed to serve in a government and is pushed to lie to the general public, that person would be put into a state of cognitive dissonance because of the inconsistency. Dissonance can be alleviated in a number of ways, including rationalization, avoidance, and seeking new support. The person could say that he is serving his country and not think about the action after it is given, or look for stronger reasons to support the commitment to the government. If there is a high discrepancy between the commitment and the inconsistent act, change will occur.

Festinger would say, in the case of wide discrepancy, that the person would change the commitment to the government after taking a negative action towards the public in order to bring attitude in line with behaviour. This theory accounts for the practice of forced behaviour producing attitude change.

SELF PERCEPTION THEORY Daryl Bem's theory of self-perception states that an individual relies on external cues to infer internal states. Bem uses the example of the question, "Why do you like brown bread?" with its response "Because I eat it." Daryl Bem was seeing the dissonance theory from another perspective; he believed rather, that an individual develops his/her own attitude by observing their own behaviour and inferring what attitude must have caused them. Bem’s theory differs from dissonance theory because he failed to agree that people experiences a dissonance which they seek to relieve. Instead, he proposed that people simply infer their attitude from their own behaviour in the same way that others might observe.

Fritz Heider proposed a motivational theory of attitude change to explain consistency motives as a drive towards a psychological balance. For instance, a student who hates a particular lecturer but likes the course taught by the lecturer is in an imbalance relationship with his/her academic pursuit. In order to achieve a psychological balance, the student might decide that the lecturer isn’t so bad anyway. That the course isn’t as great as originally thought. Heider was concerned with the way individuals organizes attitudes towards people and objects in relation to one another within that individual’s own cognitive structure. Heider postulated that unbalance state produce tension and generate forces to restore balance. His theory focuses on two individuals, a person (p) the other person (o) and an object, ideas or events (x). The theory was looking at how the relationship between these three factors can be organized in the mind of one individual (p). Heider maintained that a balanced state is possible when the three factors are in a positive relationship. In his assertion, Heider believed that the relationship is either positive or negative and that a balanced relation is stable and an individual can do anything possible to maintain this balance and resist change but an unbalanced relation produces psychological tension and the individual is motivated to bring change and maintain a balanced state.

The congruity theory by Osgood & Tannenbaum's is a continuation of the balance theory but it deals specifically with the ability of a person to make predictions about both the degree and direction of attitude change. According to the congruity model, a person (p) receives an assertion from a source (s), towards which he has an attitude, and from an object (o), towards which he has an attitude too, according to Osgood, how much P likes S and O will determine if a state of congruity or consistency exist. In essence, balance and congruity are the same because incongruity exists when attitudes toward the source and object are similar and the assertion is negative or when they are not similar and the assertion is positive. Congruity theory is concerned with the situations in which a source makes an assertion about a concept, and the audience has an attitude about the source and the concept. The only relationship the remains the same is that the assertion of the source about the concept is either positive (associative) or negative (dissociative). This theory holds that incongruity like imbalance is unpleasant and motivates audience to change their attitude.

The congruity theory predicts that if there are two contradicting thoughts, sets of information or concepts on which a judgment must be made by a single observer, the observer will experience pressure to change his or her judgment on one of the sides. However, if the two thoughts or sets of information are the same or congruent, then there will be no problem and the observer will not experience pressure.

Bandura’s theory tried to correlate behaviuor and behaviuoral change to modeling that people observe in their homes, among their peers, and in the mass media. According to this theory, modeling influences create new behaviuors because they give people new information about how to behave. Through observation, people acquire symbolic representation of modeled activities that serve as guidelines for their own behavuior. Observational learning results when models exhibit novel patterns of thought or behaviuor that observers did not already possess but which, following observation, they can produce in similar form. Modeling also strengthens or weakens inhibitions over behaviuors that have been previously learned. Imitation can also encourage people to engage in behaviuor that they had once perceived as threatening. Imitation influences, thus, can serve as instructors, inhibitors, facilitators, stimulus enhancers, and emotion arousers. When people see models express emotional reactions, they are likely to experience emotional arousal. Of course, heightened arousal depends upon how the modeled emotional reactions are perceived by the observer. It is obvious that imitation can be an important propaganda strategy, especially when members of an organization wear uniforms, participate in rituals, and reap positive rewards.

There are four processes necessary to acquire new behaviuor: (a) attention processes, (b) retention processes, (c) motor-production processes, and (d) motivational processes. The first process is that of attending to a modeled behaviuor and then subsequently relating to it. How people relate to other's behaviuor is determined by perception, motivation, needs, and goals. People are inclined to pay attention to behaviuors that have functional value to them. Successful modes of behavuior tend to gain more attention than unsuccessful ones. Also, if the person been modeled is considered attractive or a friend, more attention will be given to observing that person. This is why children in communities with aggressive models for friends may join gangs and engage in aggressive behaviuors. They have less opportunity to befriend other types or to observe pro-social behaviors than children who live in more pacific communities.

Already learned behaviuor is stored in the memory. Bandura maintained that the modeled behavior has to be stored in some symbolic form. His studies found that subjects who expressed modeled behaviors in concise terms or vivid imagery remembered them better. Production processes have to be activated, for they convert symbolic forms into appropriate action. This requires initiation of responses, monitoring, and refinement on the basis of feedback. When a behavior is performed, feedback, coaching, and reinforcement assist its adoption.

The actual performance of the modeled behavior requires motivation to do so. The primary motivation is the observation of positive consequences associated with the new behavior. Repeated observation of desirable consequences associated with a behaviuor provides a strong motivation to perform a behavior. Reinforcement is important to modeling behavior when it is used as an antecedent to the behaviuor. According to Bandura, the anticipation of positive reinforcement can effectively influence what is observed.

The theory of reasoned action is of the view that a person’s behaviour is determined by its behavioural intentions to perform it. This intention is by itself determined by the person’s attitudes and his subjective norms towards the behaviour. Subjective norms according to Fishbein and Ajzen are a person’s perception of what behaviour is expected of him/her by those that are important to him/her. This theory believed that the attitude of a person towards behaviour is determined by his belief on the consequences of this behaviour, multiplied by his evaluation of these consequences. Beliefs here are seen as the person’s subjective probability that engaging in behaviour will produce a specific outcome. The theory uses two elements, attitude and norms to predict behavioural intent. That is, when our attitude directs us to perform some certain action and our relevant norms direct us to do some other thing, both factors influence our behavioural intent. For example, your attitude may push you to ignore the traffic light but the norm suggests you wait, the question is, did you do what your attitude suggest (beat the light) or what the norm demands (wait for green light).

This theory developed by Musafer and Hovland is different from the consistency theories in the sense that it highlighted on how and why differences exist among individuals on response to persuasive messages. The theory is of the view that an audience interprets or judges a message, that is to say that an audience judges the importance of a message to already held attitude. The theory also maintained that an audience involvement in persuasive message topic, for instance, the worth or value of the message is a great issue in attitude change. It is a common thing that two people will see a particular car and one will like the car and the other person will hate the car.

Social judgment/involvement theory explains how two people react so differently to same message. In one classroom experiment, three buckets of water, hot (a), cold (b) and warm (c) was presented, two students was asked to put their hands in the buckets, one in (a) and the other in (b), although they were unaware of the water temperatures, after that, both were asked to put their hands in the third bucket (c) at the same time, they were then asked to describe the temperature in the third bucket (c). the student that put his hand in the first bucket (a) reported cool, while the student that put his hand in the second bucket (b) reported warm, these students both put their hands in the same bucket of water (c) yet, they responded differently. The reason could be because they are coming from different environment (hot & cold). According to social judgment/involvement theory, this is what happens when people receive a persuasive message, people judges the meaning of a persuasive message, how it concerns him/her by comparing such message to his his/her environment, which according to the theory is the person’s existing attitude to the message topic. For the experiment, some devices like thermometer could be used to check the water temperatures of the three buckets, but because there is no such thing as message thermometer, people just judge the importance of a message. The theory concludes that the process of judging or understanding the relevance of a message is important to understanding how persuasion works.

The study of attitude is central to social psychology because they can influence every aspect of our experiences. The tendency to evaluate stimuli as acceptable or unacceptable seems to be the starting point in our effort to make sense of the world. Because of their importance, attitudes are described as the primary building stone of social psychology. According to Fazio (1989), attitudes are triggered automatically which suggest that attitude change needs to be handled in a strategic approach. The cognitive, affective and behavioural components of attitudes need to be addressed within attitude change strategies in order to make attitude change more successful. This seminar is aimed to provide theoretical basis of three elements required for attitude change and in having a successful attitude change strategy. These three elements are based on the components of attitudes and it includes an appeal to the cognitive component, that is, the reasoning of a person, an appeal to an individuals feelings and an appeal to a person’s current or future behaviour.

People acquires attitudes based on knowledge, reasoning, experiences, learned value, personal thoughts or ideas etc, for an attitude change to be successful, an appeal have to be made to the person’s belief. A research by Schrader (1999) suggested that a message targeted to change a person’s attitude is less likely to work if the message is ambiguous and complex. It is suggested therefore, that the source first assesses the audience capabilities and abilities and the appeal message be concise, meaningful, understandable and relevant. For instance, a political party campaign manifesto must be appealing to people’s belief about Nigerian politics. According to Manfredo (1992), information presented at attitude change campaign must be an argument that is relevant to the individuals.

Attitude has an emotional component and therefore can be influenced and changed according to an individual’s feelings, a successful attitude change strategy will attempt to create a message that will engage the audience emotion. A political party’s campaign that reminds the people about the incessant bombings and lost of lives and how it planed to end it may induce feeling that leads to attitude change. Some attitude change strategies may use the opposite to induce fear or insecurity to change individual’s attitude through scare method. Either way, for attitude change to be successful, the message must address the emotional factors that helped to build them. It may generally be more effective to change attitudes that are based on emotion with emotional strategies rather than with more cognitive or rational one (Petty, Wheeler, & Tormala, 2003).

Downing, Judd and Brauer (1992), carried out a research and suggested that the more a person outwardly expresses an attitude the more it will increase in its strength. Therefore, it can be suggested that an attitude change strategy will address the action component of attitude and allow the person to practice the behaviour associated with the newly acquired attitude. For instance, new converts in church are advised to always attend a mid week follow up class in order to perfect their conversion.

Gass and Seiter (2003), in discussing the theory of reasoned action, said that a person’s behaviour is influenced by the person’s intention of behaviour which is shaped by the individual’s attitude. An attitude change strategy that is aimed to successfully address the behavioural component of attitude, first, it must make the individual change their attitude towards an object, secondly, make them to change their intention of behaviour and finally make them form new habits and behaviour to suit the changed attitude. From the instance above, the converts not only converted but will be given reading materials and text messages to implement the necessary behaviour to express the change attitude. Successful attitude change initiatives must engage the individual in a context that they find meaningful and worthwhile. These three components must be implemented together in order for attitude change to be effective.
From the view of social psychology, the study of attitudes is significant because they are thought to correlate with and predict human behaviour and due to this perceived relationship between attitude and behaviour and the need for a behavioural change, changing a person’s attitude leads to a change in behaviour. Thus, this seminar attempts to identify means of modifying a person’s attitude in order to bring about a corresponding change in behaviour.


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