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ATTITIDE FORMATION AND MEASUREMENT:
THE TRIPARTITE MODEL

Affect
a class of mental phenomena uniquely characterized by a consciously experienced subjective feeling state commonly accompanying emotions and moods

Moods
are temporary feeling states

Emotions
include stronger feelings such as anger, distress, fear, interest, joy, surprise

Hedonism
refers to gaining pleasure through the senses


AFFECT

Affective responses range on a continuum of higher levels of arousal and activation to lower levels of arousal and activation.

This equates to a continuum from stronger levels of intensity or strength to lower levels of intensity or strength.

This equates to a continuum from emotions to feelings and moods to evaluations and attitudes.


Emotions are strong, relatively uncontrolled feelings that affect behavior:
- e.g.,

  • anger
  • joy
  • fear
  • sadness
  • grief
  • jealousy

Emotions are accompanied by physiological changes:
- e.g.

  • eye pupil dilation
  • increased perspiration
  • more rapid breathing
  • enhanced blood sugar level
  • increased heart rate and
  • blood pressure

Note: some social scientists distinguish between affect and emotion; I don't.


ATTITUDE
a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a given object

ATTITUDE OBJECTS
An evaluation is always made with respect to some entity or thing that is the object of evaluation. Entities that are evaluated are known as attitude objects.

- e.g.:

  • a professor (Bob Owen)
  • a presidential candidate (Perot)
  • a car (is yours a clunker or a cream puff?)
  • a brand of shoes (those swoosh ones)
  • an environmental issue (offshore oil drilling)


Evaluative responses are those that express:

      approval  or  disapproval
         favor  or  disfavor
        liking  or  disliking
      approach  or  avoidance
    attraction  or  aversion

  - etc.


Direction
Such evaluative responses are regarded as differing in valence or direction because they can be classified into positive and negative evaluations.

Magnitude
In addition, evaluations of a given valence differ in intensity or extremity. E.g., slightly positive vs. very positive.


MEASURING ATTITUDE

One-item Rating Scale

Compared to other brands, how much do you
like this product?

  dislike it :__:__:__:__:__:__:__: like it
   very much                        very much


Likert Scale (short i)

 1. This product is high priced.

      ___ strongly agree

      ___ agree

      ___ neutral

      ___ disagree

      ___ strongly disagree



 2. This product provides good value for the money
    that I would spend to buy it.

      ___ strongly agree

      ___ agree

      ___ neutral

      ___ disagree

      ___ strongly disagree



 3. Overall, I like this product a lot.

      ___ strongly agree

      ___ agree

      ___ neutral

      ___ disagree

      ___ strongly disagree

What might be wrong with this set of questions?


MEASURING ATTITUDE

Likert Scale

  • assemble a large number of opinion statements relevant to the attitude issue

  • a large number of people express the extent of their own agreement or disagreement with each of the statements

  • the scale assumes that each of the items measures the same underlying attitude

  • the responses to each individual item are summed to obtain a total test score

  • any items that do not correlate highly with the total test score are eliminated from the scale

  • a new (shorter) scale is constructed from the remaining items

  • a person's overall attitude is taken to be the sum of the individual items, or the average of the items


MEASURING ATTITUDE

Semantic Differential Scale

Rate how you feel about this product
on each of the scales below.


  high priced :___:___:___:___:___: low priced


  good value :___:___:___:___:___: poor value


  dislike it :___:___:___:___:___: like it

What might be wrong with this set of questions?

Why is an uneven number of rating values used?
When would an even number be better?


MEASURING ATTITUDE

Semantic Differential Scale

  • assemble bipolar adjective pairs that represent the evaluative dimension of interest

  • the person's attitude score would be the sum of the numbers corresponding to the positions checked on the individual subscales (or average)


ATTITUDE AS AN INFERRED STATE

Social scientists often have assumed that certain kinds of responses reveal peoples' attitudes.

      observable=======>inferred=======>observable


    stimuli that                        evaluative
     denote atd.=======>attitude=======>responses
       object


ATTITUDE AS AN OBSERVED STATE, WITH EVALUATIVE RESPONSES DIVIDED INTO THREE CLASSES:

Social scientists often have assumed that responses that express evaluation, and therefore reveal peoples' attitudes, can be or should be divided into three classes:

  • cognition (beliefs)

  • affect (feelings)

  • conation (behavior or intentions)

     observable=======>inferred=======>observable



                                       cognitive
                              /=======>responses
                            /
   stimuli that           /            affective
    denote atd.=======>attitude=======>responses
      object              \
                            \
                              \=======>behavioral
                                       responses



TRIPARTITE MODEL

Cognitive
thoughts that people have about the attitude object

Affective
feelings or emotions that people have in relation to the attitude object

Behavioral
peoples' actions with respect to the attitude object

Cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to a stumulus are taken to suggest an overall attitude about some object.

NOTE: an assumption is that these components tend to be consistent.