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Psychology (Optional) Notes & Mind Maps

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    1.1 Definition of Psychology
  2. 1.2 Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century
  3. 1.3 Psychology and scientific methods
  4. 1.4 Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences
  5. 1.5 Application of Psychology to societal problems
    2.1 Types of research: Descriptive, evaluative, diagnostic, and prognostic
  7. 2.2 Methods of Research: Survey, observation, case-study, and experiments
  8. 2.3 Experimental, Non-Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
  9. 2.4 Focused group discussions
  10. 2.5 Brainstorming
  11. 2.6 Grounded theory approach
    3.1 Major Steps in Psychological research
    6 Submodules
  13. 3.2 Fundamental versus applied research
  14. 3.3 Methods of Data Collection
    3 Submodules
  15. 3.4 Research designs (ex-post facto and experimental)
  16. 3.5 Application of Statistical Technique
    5 Submodules
  17. 3.6 Item Response Theory
    4.1 Growth and Development, Principles of Development
  19. 4.2 Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behavior
  20. 4.3 Influence of cultural factors in socialization
  21. 4.4 Life span development (Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span)
    5.1 Sensation
    2 Submodules
  23. 5.2 Attention: factors influencing attention
    1 Submodule
  24. 5.3 Perception
    11 Submodules
  25. 6. LEARNING
    6.1 Concept and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestaltalist and Information processing models)
  26. 6.2 The Processes of extinction, discrimination, and generalization
  27. 6.3 Programmed learning
  28. 6.4 Probability Learning
  29. 6.5 Self-Instructional Learning
  30. 6.6 Types and the schedules of reinforcement
  31. 6.7 Escape, Avoidance and Punishment
  32. 6.8 Modeling
  33. 6.9 Social Learning
  34. 7. MEMORY
    7.1 Encoding and Remembering
  35. 7.2 Short term memory
  36. 7.3 Long term memory
  37. 7.4 Sensory Memory - Iconic, Echoic & Haptic Memory
  38. 7.5 Multistore Model of Memory
  39. 7.6 Levels of Processing
  40. 7.7 Organization and Mnemonic techniques to improve memory
  41. 7.8 Theories of forgetting: decay, interference and retrieval failure
  42. 7.9 Metamemory
    8.1 Piaget’s theory of cognitive development
  44. 8.2 Concept formation processes
  45. 8.3 Information Processing
  46. 8.4 Reasoning and problem-solving
  47. 8.5 Facilitating and hindering factors in problem-solving
  48. 8.6 Methods of problem-solving: Creative thinking and fostering creativity
  49. 8.7 Factors influencing decision making and judgment
  50. 8.8 Recent Trends in Thinking and Problem Solving
  51. 9. Motivation and Emotion
    9.1 Psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion
  52. 9.2 Measurement of motivation and emotion
  53. 9.3 Effects of motivation and emotion on behavior
  54. 9.4 Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
  55. 9.5 Factors influencing intrinsic motivation
  56. 9.6 Emotional competence and the related issues
  57. 10. Intelligence and Aptitude
    10.1 Concept of intelligence and aptitude
  58. 10.2 Nature and theories of intelligence: Spearman, Thurstone, Guilford Vernon, Sternberg and J.P Das
  59. 10.3 Emotional Intelligence
  60. 10.4 Social Intelligence
  61. 10.5 Measurement of intelligence and aptitudes
  62. 10.6 Concept of IQ
  63. 10.7 Deviation IQ
  64. 10.8 The constancy of IQ
  65. 10.9 Measurement of multiple intelligence
  66. 10.10 Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence
  67. 11. Personality
    11.1 Definition and concept of personality
  68. 11.2 Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, sociocultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approaches)
  69. 11.3 Measurement of personality (projective tests, pencil-paper test)
  70. 11.4 The Indian approach to personality
  71. 11.5 Training for personality development
  72. 11.6 Latest approaches like big 5-factor theory
  73. 11.7 The notion of self in different traditions
  74. 12. Attitudes, Values, and Interests
    12.1 Definition of attitudes, values, and interests
  75. 12.2 Components of attitudes
  76. 12.3 Formation and maintenance of attitudes
  77. 12.4 Measurement of attitudes, values, and interests
  78. 12.5 Theories of attitude change
  79. 12.6 Strategies for fostering values
  80. 12.7 Formation of stereotypes and prejudices
  81. 12.8 Changing others behavior
  82. 12.9 Theories of attribution
  83. 12.10 Recent trends in Attitudes, Values and Interests
  84. 13. Language and Communication
    13.1 Properties of Human Language
  85. 13.2 Structure of language and linguistic hierarchy
  86. 13.3 Language acquisition: Predisposition & critical period hypothesis
  87. 13.4 Theories of language development: Skinner and Chomsky
  88. 13.5 Process and types of communication – effective communication training
  89. 14. Issues and Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology
    14.1 Computer application in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing
  90. 14.2 Artificial Intelligence and Psychology
  91. 14.3 Psychocybernetics
  92. 14.4 Study of consciousness-sleep-wake schedules
  93. 14.5 Dreams
  94. 14.6 Stimulus deprivation
  95. 14.7 Meditation
  96. 14.8 Hypnotic/drug-induced states
  97. 14.9 Extrasensory perception
  98. 14.10 Intersensory perception & simulation studies
  99. 15. Psychological Measurement of Individual Differences
    15.1 The nature of individual differences
  100. 15.2 Characteristics and construction of standardized psychological tests
  101. 15.3 Types of psychological tests
  102. 15.4 Use, misuse, limitation & ethical issues of psychological tests
  103. 15.5 Concept of health-ill health
  104. 15.6 Positive health & well being
  105. 15.7 Causal factors in mental disorders (Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and delusional disorders; personality disorders, substance abuse disorders)
  106. 15.8 Factors influencing positive health, well being, lifestyle and quality of life
  107. 15.9 Happiness Disposition
  108. 16. Therapeutic Approaches
    16.1 Introduction: Overview of Therapeutic Approaches and Their Importance in Mental Health
  109. 16.2 Psychodynamic therapies
  110. 16.3 Behavior Therapies
  111. 16.4 Client centered therapy
  112. 16.5 Indigenous therapies (Yoga, Meditation)
  113. 16.6 Fostering mental health
  114. 17. Work Psychology and Organisational Behaviour
    17.1 Personnel selection and training
  115. 17.2 Use of psychological tests in the industry
  116. 17.3 Training and human resource development
  117. 17.4 Theories of work motivation – Herzberg, Maslow, Adam Equity theory, Porter and Lawler, Vroom
  118. 17.5 Advertising and marketing
  119. 17.6 Stress and its management
  120. 17.7 Ergonomics
  121. 17.8 Consumer Psychology
  122. 17.9 Managerial effectiveness
  123. 17.10 Transformational leadership
  124. 17.11 Sensitivity training
  125. 17.12 Power and politics in organizations
  126. 18. Application of Psychology to Educational Field
    18.1 Psychological principles underlying effective teaching-learning process
  127. 18.2 Learning Styles
  128. 18.3 Gifted, retarded, learning disabled and their training
  129. 18.4 Training for improving memory and better academic achievement
  130. 18.5 Personality development and value education, Educational, vocational guidance and career counseling
  131. 18.6 Use of psychological tests in educational institutions
  132. 18.7 Effective strategies in guidance programs
  133. 19. Community Psychology
    19.1 Definition and concept of community psychology
  134. 19.2 Use of small groups in social action
  135. 19.3 Arousing community consciousness and action for handling social problems
  136. 19.4 Group decision making and leadership for social change
  137. 19.5 Effective strategies for social change
  138. 20. Rehabilitation Psychology
    20.1 Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention programs-role of psychologists
  139. 20.2 Organising of services for the rehabilitation of physically, mentally and socially challenged persons including old persons
  140. 20.3 Rehabilitation of persons suffering from substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, criminal behavior
  141. 20.4 Rehabilitation of victims of violence
  142. 20.5 Rehabilitation of HIV/AIDS victims
  143. 20.6 The role of social agencies
  144. 21. Application of Psychology to disadvantaged groups
    21.1 The concepts of disadvantaged, deprivation
  145. 21.2 Social, physical, cultural, and economic consequences of disadvantaged and deprived groups
  146. 21.3 Educating and motivating the disadvantaged towards development
  147. 21.4 Relative and prolonged deprivation
  148. 22. Psychological problems of social integration
    22.1 The concept of social integration
  149. 22.2 The problem of caste, class, religion and language conflicts and prejudice
  150. 22.3 Nature and the manifestation of prejudice between the in-group and out-group
  151. 22.4 Causal factors of social conflicts and prejudices
  152. 22.5 Psychological strategies for handling the conflicts and prejudices
  153. 22.6 Measures to achieve social integration
  154. 23. Application of Psychology in Information Technology and Mass Media
    23.1 The present scenario of information technology and the mass media boom and the role of psychologists
  155. 23.2 Selection and training of psychology professionals to work in the field of IT and mass media
  156. 23.3 Distance learning through IT and mass media
  157. 23.4 Entrepreneurship through e-commerce
  158. 23.5 Multilevel marketing
  159. 23.6 Impact of TV and fostering value through IT and mass media
  160. 23.7 Psychological consequences of recent developments in Information Technology
  161. 24. Psychology and Economic development
    24.1 Achievement motivation and economic development
  162. 24.2 Characteristics of entrepreneurial behavior
  163. 24.3 Motivating and training people for entrepreneurship and economic development
  164. 24.4 Consumer rights and consumer awareness
  165. 24.5 Government policies for the promotion of entrepreneurship among youth including women entrepreneurs
  166. 25. Application of psychology to environment and related fields
    25.1 Environmental psychology- effects of noise, pollution, and crowding
  167. 25.2 Population psychology: psychological consequences of population explosion and high population density
  168. 25.3 Motivating for small family norm
  169. 25.4 Impact of rapid scientific and technological growth on degradation of the environment
  170. 26. Application of psychology in other fields
    26.1 [Military Psychology] Devising psychological tests for defense personnel for use in selection, Training, counseling
  171. 26.2 [Military Psychology] Training psychologists to work with defense personnel in promoting positive health
  172. 26.3 [Military Psychology] Human engineering in defense
  173. 26.4 Sports Psychology
  174. 26.5 Media influences on pro and antisocial behavior
  175. 26.6 Psychology of Terrorism
  176. 27. Psychology of Gender
    27.1 Issues of discrimination
  177. 27.2 Management of Diversity
  178. 27.3 Glass ceiling effect
  179. 27.4 Self-fulfilling prophesy
  180. 27.5 Women and Indian society
Module 78 of 180
In Progress

12.5 Theories of attitude change

I. Introduction

Attitude change is a fascinating and complex area of study within social psychology. Over the years, researchers have proposed various theories to understand the processes involved in changing attitudes. These theories categorize attitude change into different frameworks, such as consistency theories, learning theories, social judgment theories, and functional theories. By exploring these theories, we can gain insights into how attitudes are formed, how they can be modified, and the underlying motivations that drive these changes. Understanding the mechanisms of attitude change is crucial for effective persuasion and the design of persuasive messages in various contexts.

II. Historical Perspective

A. Emphasis on definition and measurement of attitudes before World War II

  • Prior to World War II, the focus in attitude research was primarily on defining and measuring attitudes.
  • Survey-based studies were common during this period, providing valuable correlational findings but limited insights into causality.
  • Experimental techniques such as control groups or comparison groups were notably absent.

B. Influence of experimental psychologists during World War II

  • World War II marked a significant turning point in attitude change research, driven by the involvement of experimental psychologists like Carl Hovland.
  • The persuasive effects of propaganda became a crucial topic of Army-sponsored research.
  • True experimental techniques were employed to study the persuasive effects, bringing a shift towards experimental approaches in studying attitude change.

C. Theories developed by Hovland and his associates

  • Carl Hovland and his associates continued their attitude change research after the war at Yale University.
  • The theories developed by this group served as an organizational framework for the study of attitude change.
  • Their research and theory building were rooted in the behaviorist perspective, seeking to establish relationships between attitudes and observable outcomes in learners.

D. Shift from survey-based studies to experimental techniques

  • The influence of Hovland and his associates led to a significant shift from survey-based studies to experimental techniques in attitude change research.
  • Experimental methods, including control groups and manipulation of variables, were implemented to study the persuasive effects of different interventions.
  • This shift allowed for a better understanding of the causal relationships between attitude change and various factors, paving the way for more rigorous research in the field.

III. Consistency Theories

A. Basic assumptions and need for consistency

  • Consistency theories in attitude change posit that individuals have a fundamental need for consistency between their attitudes, behaviors, and among attitudes and behaviors.
  • Inconsistency causes discomfort, prompting individuals to seek balance or consistency by adjusting their attitudes or behaviors.

B. Balance theory and relationships among perceiver, person, and object

  • Balance theory, a consistency theory, focuses on the relationships between the perceiver, another person, and an object.
  • These relationships are categorized as positive or negative based on the perceiver’s cognitive perceptions.
  • The theory proposes that there are four balanced and four unbalanced configurations, with unbalanced states recognized as being unstable.

C. Cognitive dissonance theory and reduction of inconsistency

  • Cognitive dissonance theory, one of the most influential consistency theories, addresses the reduction of inconsistency.
  • Dissonance occurs when there are logical or psychological inconsistencies among cognitive elements or beliefs about oneself, behavior, or the environment.
  • Dissonance motivates individuals to reduce the inconsistency and return to consonance, leading to attitude change.

D. Research example: Simonson’s study of dissonance theory principles

  • Simonson’s (1977) study exemplifies a consistency theory approach by utilizing cognitive dissonance theory.
  • The study aimed to improve student attitudes toward an instructional activity through a formal program of attitude change.
  • The research involved randomly assigning students to different treatment groups and assessing attitude change and achievement outcomes.
  • The results demonstrated that attitude change could be produced through dissonance-inducing procedures, supporting the principles of cognitive dissonance theory.

IV. Learning Theories

A. Behavioral approach and stimulus characteristics

  • Learning theories in attitude change, rooted in behavioral psychology, focus on the behavioral aspects of attitudes.
  • These theories emphasize the influence of stimulus characteristics in the communication situation.
  • Staat’s work reflects classical conditioning principles, where new stimuli become associated with old stimuli through consistent pairing, resulting in emotional responses.

B. Hovland and Yale Communication Research Program

  • Hovland and his associates at the Yale Communication Research Program contributed significantly to learning theories of attitude change.
  • They proposed that opinions tend to persist unless individuals undergo new learning experiences.
  • Persuasive communications that present a question and suggest an answer serve as learning experiences to change attitudes.

C. Role of incentives and reinforcement in attitude change

  • Hovland and his colleagues highlighted the importance of incentives and reinforcement in persuasive messages.
  • Acceptance of new beliefs and attitudes is influenced by the opportunity for mental rehearsal or practice of the recommended attitudinal response.
  • Incentives, including financial benefits or social acceptance, act as mechanisms for reinforcement, promoting acceptance of new attitudes.

D. Bem’s Skinnerian approach and external cues

  • Bem’s approach aligns with Skinnerian principles, emphasizing the role of external cues and observable behaviors in attitude change.
  • According to Bem, attitudes are learned through previous experiences with the environment.
  • To change attitudes, external cues are used to reward or punish individuals, shaping their attitudes through associations with observable behaviors.

V. Social Judgment Theory

A. Perceptual distortion based on prior attitudes

  • Social Judgment Theory focuses on how prior attitudes influence perceptual distortion when evaluating persuasive messages.
  • Individuals tend to judge positions advocated in messages based on their own attitudes, resulting in a biased perception of the message content.
  • Perceptions are influenced by the individual’s judgmental anchor, which is their own attitude on the topic.

B. Latitudes of acceptance, rejection, and noncommitment

  • Social Judgment Theory introduces the concept of latitudes, which represent the range of positions on an attitudinal continuum.
  • The latitude of acceptance includes positions that are relatively close to the individual’s own attitude and are more likely to be assimilated.
  • The latitude of rejection includes positions that are far from the individual’s attitude and are more likely to be contrasted or rejected.
  • The latitude of noncommitment represents positions that neither fall within acceptance nor rejection.

C. Assimilation and contrast effects

  • Social Judgment Theory explains the processes of assimilation and contrast that occur when evaluating persuasive messages.
  • Messages falling within the latitude of acceptance are more likely to be assimilated, leading to attitude change toward the advocated position.
  • Messages falling within the latitude of rejection are more likely to be contrasted, resulting in less attitude change or even reinforcement of existing attitudes.

D. Criticisms and relevance in current research

  • Social Judgment Theory has faced criticisms, particularly regarding the complexity of its principles and how they relate to each other.
  • However, the theory’s emphasis on prior attitudes and perceptual distortions still holds relevance in current research.
  • Researchers continue to incorporate social judgment principles as covariates and control variables in experimental designs.
  • The theory provides insights into the role of attitudes in shaping judgments and can inform the design of persuasive messages in various contexts.

VI. Functional Theories

A. Attitudes serving different psychological needs

  • Functional theories propose that attitudes serve various psychological needs and have different motivational bases.
  • Attitudes fulfill specific functions for individuals, addressing their unique psychological needs.
  • The functions attitudes serve can vary between individuals and in different contexts.

B. Katz’s four personality functions of attitudes

  • Katz identified four primary personality functions of attitudes:
    1. Utilitarian function: Attitudes that serve instrumental purposes, aiming to gain rewards or avoid punishments.
    2. Knowledge function: Attitudes that provide a structured and meaningful view of the world, simplifying perceptions.
    3. Ego-defensive function: Attitudes that protect one’s self-concept by employing defense mechanisms against threats.
    4. Value-expressive function: Attitudes that express personal values and contribute to self-expression.

C. Matching change procedures to attitude functions

  • Functional theories suggest that effective attitude change involves aligning change procedures with the specific function served by the attitude.
  • Understanding the motivational basis of an attitude helps in designing strategies that create a disparity between the attitude and its function.
  • By targeting the specific function, attitude change efforts can be more successful.

D. Kelman’s processes of compliance, identification, and internalization

  • Kelman proposed three processes of opinion change:
    1. Compliance: Attitude change motivated by seeking a favorable reaction or approval from others, resulting in surface-level change.
    2. Identification: Attitude change occurring both publicly and privately, influenced by the relationship with the source but not dependent on the source’s presence.
    3. Internalization: Attitude change that becomes part of an individual’s value system, integrating the new attitude into their core beliefs.

VII. Other Theoretical Approaches

A. McGuire’s inoculation theory and resistance to change

  • McGuire’s inoculation theory focuses on developing resistance to attitude change.
  • Similar to biological inoculation, individuals are exposed to mild attacks on their beliefs to strengthen their resistance.
  • By experiencing and defending against weak challenges, individuals develop immunity to stronger attacks on their belief systems.

B. Link between behavioral theories and cognitive themes

  • There is a connection between earlier behavioral theories and more recent cognitive themes in attitude research.
  • Behavioral theories, such as those developed by Hovland and his associates, emphasized the role of reinforcement, incentives, and external cues in attitude change.
  • These theories laid the foundation for understanding the influence of motivation, attention, and comprehension on attitude change.
  • The integration of cognitive processes in more recent theories has further enhanced our understanding of the complexities of attitude change.

VIII. Implications for Media and Persuasive Messages

A. The role of media as a tool in attitude change research

  • In the context of attitude change research, media is seen as a methodological tool rather than the direct influencer of attitudes.
  • Media serves as a platform for delivering persuasive messages and studying their effects on attitudes.
  • The focus is on the messages and methods used within the media rather than the media itself as the primary driver of attitude change.

B. Considerations for designing persuasive messages

  • Theories of attitude change provide guidance for designing effective persuasive messages.
  • Understanding the functions attitudes serve and the motivational bases of attitudes can help tailor messages to match individual needs.
  • Factors such as source characteristics, setting characteristics, and communication content elements should be considered in message design.
  • Attention, comprehension, and acceptance play vital roles in message effectiveness, and the opportunity for mental rehearsal and incentives can enhance attitude change.
  • Persuasive messages should also consider the principles of social judgment theory, accounting for individuals’ prior attitudes and their latitudes of acceptance and rejection.

IX. Conclusion

A. Summary of attitude change theories

  • Attitude change theories discussed in this article can be categorized into four main categories: consistency theories, learning theories, social judgment theories, and functional theories.
  • Consistency theories, such as balance theory and cognitive dissonance theory, emphasize the need for consistency between attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs.
  • Learning theories, including the work of Hovland and the Yale Communication Research Program, focus on the role of incentives, reinforcement, and external cues in attitude change.
  • Social judgment theory highlights how individuals’ prior attitudes influence their perception and acceptance of persuasive messages.
  • Functional theories recognize that attitudes serve different psychological needs and emphasize the importance of matching change procedures to these functions.

B. Importance of understanding motivational basis for attitude change

  • Understanding the motivational basis of attitudes is crucial for effective attitude change efforts.
  • Attitudes serve various functions for individuals, such as utilitarian, knowledge, ego-defensive, and value-expressive functions.
  • Matching persuasive messages to the underlying motivational basis of attitudes enhances the likelihood of successful attitude change.

C. Directions for future research

  • While many theories have contributed to our understanding of attitude change, there are still areas for further exploration.
  • Future research should continue to examine the complex interplay between attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and persuasive messages.
  • Exploring the role of new media platforms and their impact on attitude change is an important area of study.
  • Investigating the interaction between individual differences and attitude change processes can provide valuable insights.

In conclusion, the theories of attitude change discussed in this article provide valuable frameworks for understanding and influencing attitudes. Recognizing the motivational basis of attitudes and tailoring persuasive messages accordingly can enhance the effectiveness of attitude change efforts. Future research should delve deeper into the intricacies of attitude change processes and explore emerging areas such as new media platforms and individual differences in attitude change.


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