Social Psychology of Attitudes
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Hello, everyone. I hope that you all had a great weekend.
Today’s post is a quick look at the social psychology behind attitudes.
Wow, this last week’s been busy because as I mentioned last week it’s the university’s employability Festival and me being me decided to sign up for tons of relevant and irrelevant talks and trying to fit everything else in has been… interesting.
For example: I’ve been for a month now and my weekends are typically free to you on you; my wonderful readers; but I’m sorry to say that the only piece of interesting work that I did was start Garro: Hersey and that was only 3 chapters compared to the 6 I wanted to get done.
However, a more comical piece of personal news is that I started my Italian course last Tuesday which I was really looking forward to but when I got there and we started to the course. It reminded me of how bad I am at languages.
As in the UK when you’re in High school or 12-16 education we must do a language; well I did, and I did French, but as much as I loved the concept of learning another language and culture. I was just awful at it. Mainly because of my pronunciation.
Which actually brings me back to a point that I often think about or say and that it’s a massive failure of the English education system that we don’t take other languages seriously and we need to start teaching children other languages when they’re a lot younger as other countries do. As most countries start to teach their children English at about 5 or 6 (It’s a rough guess) and it’s because of that learning at such a young age that they’re so good at English.
Basically, if we start to teach other languages earlier than our children will better at them and appreciate them more.
(May that’s a new book idea)
I quite enjoyed that section. Moving on the writing update.
Honestly, it’s been a very hit and miss week for writing as I’ve wanted to get a lot done but I’ve had to prioritized what I’ve wanted to get done. Such as: over the weekend I had to do 4 hours of reading for university.
Mainly, as a result of me wanting to get all my reading done so, I can I enjoy, relax and focus on writing activities during my reading week (a week off from university)
Although, I have managed to achieve some things with my writing this week.
· I’ve written the first 3 chapters of Garro: Hersey which I’m excited about because of the plot and pace that it’s progressing and its interesting see Garro without Kortana and his team.
· I’ve joined an author network called: The Dreamteam Network. This is an author network that focuses on joining up to promote everyone’s books and grow each author’s readership.
Personally, I like it because in the first week I’ve already joined a few promos and after writing this blog post. I’m going to post in the Facebook group to see who would be interested in doing a multi-author boxset.
A very exciting week indeed.
Finally, that last I had a brilliant email from a reader that asked me to do more Garro and it felt great to know that someone loved my books so THANK YOU to that reader for reassuring me that I'm not wasting my time.
The social psychology of Attitudes:
So, on Wednesday I was sitting in my Social Psychology lecture and I was really interested in this topic because I knew that I needed a topic for today’s post and this topic seemed perfect.
(As always this blog post is just a very brief introduction to the topic that I’ll explore more in future books)
Therefore, attitudes are preferences in their simplest form and these attitudes can be positive, negative or both.
In addition, we have two types of attitudes. We have explicit attitudes which are easy to measure in social psychology because you can merely ask people to have them. For example: What do you think about smoking?
Then we have implicit attitudes. These attitudes are harder to measure because as humans we aren’t fully aware of our own attitudes, as well as these attitudes are hard to change and are very quick to activate.
Functions of attitudes:
Interestingly, Katz (1960) suggested that there are four functions of attitudes:
· Knowledge function- we have attitudes so it feels like we understand a complex social world.
· A utilitarian function- attitudes help us get rewarded and avoid punishments. For example, parents may reward you for having a similar attitude to them on Brexit.
· Value expressive function- attitudes allow people to express their deep-seated values on different topics.
· Ego defensive function- having attitudes protect us from psychological harm.
Personally, I find all these different functions to be very logical and interesting because I would say that they’re all true and correct as I can think of ways of how personal attitudes can fulfil each function. I’ll examine this in more depth in next year’s book.
Formation of attitudes:
The last topic that I’ll mention at attitudes; the rest I’ll mention in next year’s book; is how attitudes can be formed.
They can be formed several ways including:
· Mere exposure- the more we’re exposed to a particular stimulus; for example, Chinese food; the more we tend to like it. (To a certain point. I’ll explore the concept of over-familiarisation in the future)
· Conditioning- in short when you’re rewarded for having a certain attitude.
· Genetics- as supported by various twin studies. It’s suggested that political conservatism and other attitudes are partly genetics. (Bouchard et al 2000)
· Social processes- our interactions with our cultural and social groups can impact our attitudes.
· Echo chambers and confirmation bias- we seek people who support our world views and thus strengthen our beliefs in them.
I hope you found this post interesting.
Please check out my other books for more information on psychology topics and sign up for my newsletter and receive a free book to receive news about my books.
Have a great week!
Kind regards Connor.
Reference: Sutton, R.M., & Douglas, K.M. (2013). Social psychology. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan