• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Choose one of the following areas of social psychology and, with reference to previous studies, discuss the conceptual and methodological issues which you feel future research in that area needs to address: Attitudes.

Extracts from this document...


Choose one of the following areas of social psychology and, with reference to previous studies, discuss the conceptual and methodological issues which you feel future research in that area needs to address: Attitudes Baron and Byrne (2002) define attitude as an individuals attempt to evaluate the social world in which they live in. To translate this further Tesser and Martin (1996) suggested it is one's behavioural reaction to specific issues (social groups, ideas, people, objects etc), which are favourable or un-favourable (Baron and Byrne, 2002, p.118.) During this essay one will analyze how previous social research has evaluated behavioural attitudes, and whether there are methodological issues involved when theorists have tried to establish the correct format of measurement of attitudes. Social definitions of attitude have been an important aspect of the development of social psychology. Theorists have tried and tested and evaluated many different components that are thought to be responsible for defining attitude. Rosenberg and Holland (1960) tripartite model suggested there are three factors, thought to have some importance when measuring attitude: cognitive, emotions and behaviour. Cognitive aspects refer to the individual's perceptual processes, verbal statements and beliefs; Emotions are an important fact as this refers to one's sympathetic nervous system, responses e.g. how one feels; Behaviour refers to a persons overt responses towards someone or thing, these are either positive or negative behavioural attitudes (Lecture notes wk 7.) ...read more.


Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) presented participants with a dull and boring task, where each participant had to place a vast quantity of spools onto pegs onto a board. After turning each spool quarterly they were asked to remove the pegs from the board then replace them again. Participant's attitudes via this point were strongly negative. All participants were asked by the researcher to encourage another participant to take part in the procedure via falsely proclaiming their interest. Unbeknown to the participants there were variations in how much they were paid, some were paid $20 and others $1. Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) concluded that almost all participants agreed to carryout the task of persuading other participants to take part. Obviously there was a discrepancy involved here which evolved around the payment of money especially for those who were paid $1. Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) noted that individuals who were paid $1 displayed more dissonance compared to the control group and those paid $20. When asked why they changed their attitude towards the task the participants who had been paid $1 suggested they had enjoyed the task. This research alone suggests how individuals will rationalize their behavioural attitude to fit in with others. Lesko (1994) noted that it was bizarre how an individual's behaviour can change without affecting one's attitude. He went on to state that the very nature of attitude cannot be revoked once it has already been established (Lesko, 1994, p.114.) ...read more.


Plus Maslow (1968) stressed that humanistic therapists needed to understand the person as a whole, not each separate bit of behaviour, as suggested via cognitive models. Rogers (1951) later recognised the importance of measuring behavioural attitudes it is here that he developed the Q-sorts methodology. This technique alone has enabled many social psychologists to study human behaviour, attitudes, environmental interactions and many other areas that have enhanced one's understanding of behavioural relationships. (Gross, 2001, pp.19-20.) In conclusion one has recognised the importance of choosing the correct methodological procedure to measure behavioural attitudes. Past research has identified the different issues that can occur if one does not apply the measurement in the correct way. Future research therefore needs to take into account the very nature of behavioural attitudes, and the external factors that can attribute to ones attitude and beliefs. After all social psychology research has enabled us to understand and assist individuals with addictions, phobias, and health issues. Reference Baron, R.A. & Byrne, D. (2002) Social Psychology, 10th edition. London: Allon and Bacon publishers. Brigham, J. C. & Wrightman, L.S. (1982) Contempory Issues in Social Psychology, 4th edition. United States of America: Brooks/Cole publishers. Elser, J.R. (1986) Social Psychology Attitudes, Cognition and Social Behaviour. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press. Gross, R. (2001) Psychology the Science of Mind and Behaviuor, 4th edition. London: Hodden & Stoughton. Hewstone, M. & Stroebe, N.(2001) Introduction to Social Psychology, 3rd edition. Oxford: Blackwell publishers. Lecture. Week 7, Dr Ewart, (2004) Attitude and Behaviour. Lesko, W.A. (1994) Readings in Social Psychology, 2nd edition. London: Allyn and Bacon Press. Linda Wade Page 1 5/4/2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Pro and Anti Social Behaviour

    However, Steblay (1987) conducted a meta-analysis of 65 comparisons between rural and urban populations taken from all over the world. They found that regardless of the type of help required (non-serious - serious) more help was offered in rural than urban areas.

  2. What are attribution biases and when do they occur?

    at college than they did when explaining their best friend's, and that they used a "depends on the situation" option more often when rating their own personality than when rating the personality of friends and family. An experiment by Storms (1973)

  1. Theories of Prejudice

    However, this type of advice is not very practical for many people as not many people have the means to do any of these things. It has been argued that prejudice and discrimination between two groups in conflict can be reduced if they agree to pursue some common or super ordinate goal.

  2. Psychology Phobias Coursework

    Participants will not give an animal a higher fear rating if they think it is extremely ugly. 3. Participants will not give an animal a higher fear rating if they think it has a strange texture. Method Design: The type of design used for this experiment was a correlational design.

  1. AS Communication Studies Presentation

    For example, the desks which audience members will be sitting behind, the position of the laptop and projector (as I am producing my presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint), possible motion paths that I might take, and where a video recorder is likely to be set up in order to get the best view of the whole classroom.


    Rolls and Baylis (1994, cited in Martin, 1998) believe the medial orbitofrontal cortex may contain a part of the brain that is responsible for integrating food-related information. The medial area is a supplementary motor area, which sequences motor behaviour (Russel and Roxanas, 1992).

  1. Controversial issues in psychology.

    The right hemisphere is more concerned with spatial, imaginative processing, where responses concern feelings and are, perhaps, unconscious. Lannon and Cooper (1983) suggested that because of this, much advertising is geared towards the right hemisphere. Fast marketing is a relatively new approach, which targets those that have developed brand loyalty and become offensive when they are offered a new alternative.

  2. The Relationship Between Previous Psychology Knowledge, Confidence, and A Knowledge Test in Psychology.

    Such studies include phenomenological psychology (Schultz, 1964) and ethnomethodology (Garifnkle, 1967), in fact Kohler (1947) believed that common sense holds great importance as an object of study, and Joynson (1947) stated it importance as a source of theories and hypotheses.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work