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Theories of Attitude and Behavior Change (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:00 Let’s take a look at some of the things that impact our attitudes and behaviors.

    00:05 So, we have a couple of models, two that we’re gonna highlight here.

    00:08 The first is the Elaboration Likelihood Model.

    00:10 This is a dual process theory model and it says that there’s two factors that kind of are involved in our behavior and attitude.

    00:19 So, first or changes in attitude and the second, our behavior.

    00:22 So these two will power, the likelihood that we make the decisions that we make.

    00:28 So, there’s three main elements, involved with this model and in our ability to be persuaded.

    00:35 The first are, factors associated with message characteristics.

    00:40 So this is the logic and number of key points, or length in grammatical complexity of an argument or what’s being presented to you.

    00:48 So, in simple English, if it’s really simple, and the point that’s coming across is straightforward, you’re gonna get it and you’re gonna like it.

    00:56 And if it’s very complicated with a lot of jargon and it’s exceptionally long and there’s way too much information, it’s very complex to understand, you start to get disengaged.

    01:05 There’s also the source characteristics. So, who’s talking to you? Do you feel that they’re knowledgeable, do you trust them? So, there’s a lot of times when they use celebrities, sports stars, people in the community, even when we have a commercial for a toothpaste, they have a person talking, wearing a lab coat ‘coz they look much more knowledgeable versus the average person saying “I love this toothpaste you have.” “Hi. I am Dr. Johnson.” And all of a sudden you believe, this guy must know what’s he’s talking about, even though it’s an actor playing a doctor, right? Then we have the target characteristics, the person receiving the message like self-esteem, intelligence, and mood.

    01:42 So what is the personal state? What are the characteristics that the individual that’s getting the message? So are they extremely confident? Are they very bright? Are they in a happy place? Or are they feeling like they’re really not that confident, they’re not that bright and they’re quite depressed? These things are gonna impact the level of persuasiveness that your message will have.

    02:04 Now, the model proposes two major routes for persuasion: One, is something called the Central Route.

    02:09 His is where people are persuaded by the content of the argument.

    02:12 So this is a deeper, more, evidence-based way to persuade ‘coz they’re seeing the facts and they’re persuaded at what you’re telling them versus a Peripheral Route where you focus on the superficial or secondary characteristics of the actual message being portrayed.

    02:28 So, central means lot of knowledge-based and peripheral means ‘coz it’s shiny and it was easy to get. Okay? So, let’s take a look at some, some examples here.

    02:38 So, people would choose the central route only when they’re both motivated and not distracted.

    02:43 So, when you’re not being [00:02:45,8] with a lot of, you know, extraneous information or it’s quiet and you’re very engaged, you really going to get what they’re saying and you can just relate, think of sitting in class, and think of sitting here listening to my videos.

    02:58 If I get really long, winded, and boring, you’re gonna disengage and you might not really get what I’m trying to tell you. And I can’t, pass my information on.

    03:08 And if I’m trying to persuade you in terms of an argument, you’re really not going to get what I’m saying.

    03:12 Now, processing about this central route will have a longer lasting persuasive ability versus peripheral route. So, if I am able to engage with you and get you to use the central route, that’s going to last way longer. And I’ll actually be able to persuade you as opposed to the peripheral route, that’s sort of short-lived in the moment I can get you to make that decision but afterwards, you might not continue to follow that way.

    03:37 So, the other model we want to mention is the Social Cognitive Theory.

    03:41 The social cognitive perspective incorporates elements of cognition, learning and social influence.

    03:47 And we all know that those are really relevant when it comes to us being persuaded and us making our decisions.

    03:52 So, social cognitive theory is a theory of behavior change and emphasizes the interaction of people and their environment.

    03:59 So, social factors, observational learning and environmental factors can influence attitude change.

    04:05 So, let’s take a look at, let’s take a look at that little bit more detail.

    04:08 So, the reciprocal determinism is your interaction between a person’s behaviors, personal factors, and the environment or situational factors.

    04:18 Where is this happening in terms of the immediate surrounding environment? So three ways that individuals and environments interact: First, the individuals choose their environment which in turn shapes them.

    04:29 So, if we live in a certain environment, we’re kind of making a conscious decision.

    04:34 “I wanna be in, in a hipster area with a lot of arts and culture and museums and great restaurants.” Versus, “No. I wanna be in a more culture-specific area so I feel more comfortable.” Versus “I wanna be in a rural area.” It might be along the lines of you know, what university I want to go to, what campus tour I wanna go to.

    04:52 So there’s a lot of different things that will impact that and that’s very personal, very individual.

    04:56 We also have a personality shapes how individuals are interpret and respond in their environment.

    05:01 So how are you feeling right now? Are you happy? Are you depressed? That’s gonna determine whether or not you enjoy your job.

    05:08 So, if you’re happy, you’re gonna think, “I have here an awesome job.

    05:10 Life is pretty good.” And if you’re depressed, then you’re gonna feel like, “Ugh, my job is useless. You know, what am I doing this for?” So, that’s a huge, huge deal.

    05:19 We also know that individual’s personality influences the situation to which they react to.

    05:23 So, if you’re going into an interaction and you are already pretty amped up, you’re very upset about something and you had a bad day and then you’re going to have dinner at a restaurant and all of a sudden you notice on your bill, the waiter inadvertently by mistake, put on the wrong price.

    05:42 He charged you for an extra bottle of wine.

    05:44 And if you go up to the waiter, and your personality or the way you’re feeling in that moment is that you’re extremely agitated, you’re very upset, you had a really bad day and you go in serve guns blazing and saying, ”Listen, I got a problem with this bill here.” How do you think the waiter’s going to receive that information? Is he going to be persuaded to say, “Oh, I’m really sorry to fix that.” Or is he gonna automatically become defensive and kind of, it turns into a hidden argument.

    06:07 As opposed to saying, “Hi. I’m sorry to bother your great meal.

    06:10 You did a great job, I just noticed a small error here, it happens, I’m sure you’re very busy.” Now, all of a sudden, my approach is much different and so the waiter is going to be much more open and embrace that interaction and likely in the light that you’re gonna persuade him or deal with the problem.

    06:27 So, as you can see, between these two different theories, there are a lot of factors that actually impact our attitudes and behaviors.

    06:34 At the end of the day, it does the rely with the individual characteristics that you bring to the table.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Theories of Attitude and Behavior Change (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Attitude and Behavior Change.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. An easily-understood billboard message.
    2. Regular student advocating for the importance of school attendance.
    3. Attempting to describe the Geneva Accord and all clauses.
    4. An unhappy, grief-stricken viewer.
    5. A prisoner running for an elected position.
    1. Peripheral route
    2. Central route
    3. Message characteristics
    4. Direct route
    5. Target characteristics
    1. Social cognitive theory.
    2. Likelihood model.
    3. Cognitive theory.
    4. Behvariorist theory of personality.
    5. James-Lange theory.
    1. Reciprocal determination
    2. Mirroring
    3. Conformity
    4. Social control
    5. Social learning

    Author of lecture Theories of Attitude and Behavior Change (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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