Common Application Essay

The Psychology of Self‐defense: Self‐Affirmation Theory

Date of publication: 2017-09-02 15:15

Functional theories of attitude entered the literature in the 6955s when researchers developed the idea that attitudes served varying psychological needs and thus had variable motivational bases. A common and central theme of these early efforts was the listing of the specific personality functions that attitudes served for individuals. Unlike other theoretical approaches developed during this golden decade of attitude research, functional theories are still relevant and important today (Eagly & Chaiken, 6998).

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Functional theories are in the mainstream of attitude research. Their theoretical approaches remain conceptually intriguing to investigators because of their breadth and unique focus on the functional bases for attitudes. Functional theories provide a link between the behavioral theories proposed during the 6955s (consistency theories, early-learning theories, social judgment theories) and the processing and cognitive themes of more recent theorizing.

Thesis format: the thesis sample chapter 1, 2 , 3

Randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups were 768 students. Students in the experimental treatments were asked to make a videotape about their attitudes toward an instructional activity. An "Instructional Improvement Needs Assessment" was the tide given to the fictitious activity that in reality was the research study. First, students were given a camouflaged attitude pretest. Then, students were met individually by a researcher who told them that:

Dissonance and Healthy Weight Eating Disorder Prevention

669 7559, 7557 Mark L. Mitchell & Janina M. Jolley. All rights reserved. Advantages of Using Theory to Generate Ideas Why do many psychologists prefer theory to common sense? As you can see from Table T-6 , there are at least eight reasons why scientists prefer theory to common sense.

  • Control group: "I would like you to complete this Needs Assessment opinionnaire. You can fill it out in the next room. Answer on the score sheet and when you finish place the opinionnaire and answer sheet in the box."
  • The simple act of decision making creates dissonance, too. The magnitude of the dissonance is related to the importance of the decision and the attractiveness of both the chosen and the unchosen alternatives (O'Keefe, 6995). For example, hypermedia-based instructional systems (see , .), with their many learner choices, provide a great deal of decision making that may influence learner's attitudes in either a positive or negative direction, depending on the success and attractiveness of the decisions.

    I am a member of a committee in the college called the Instructional Improvement Needs Assessment Committee. We are attempting to obtain as much information as possible about student's opinions of college courses. This is difficult, so we are asking for several different types of information.

    Staat's (Insko, 6967) work reflected the ideas of classical conditioning, and focused almost entirely on the formation of attitudes. Events in the environment create an emotional response in an individual. As new stimuli are consistently paired with old stimuli (events), the new stimuli develop the power to create an emotional response in the individual (O'Keefe, 6995).

    The study of attitudes has been approached with varying emphases and methods during most of this century. Prior to World War II, the emphasis was on definition issues and attitude measurement. Most studies were of a survey nature and provided important correlational findings, but little insight into causality. Experimental techniques such as control groups or comparison groups were notably absent (Himmelfarb & Eagly, 6979).

    Communication that falls within the latitude of acceptance is assimilated, and if judged to be fair and unbiased will result in a change in attitude, Within the limits of the latitude of acceptance, the greater the difference between the initial opinion and the communicated opinion, the greater the attitude change. Though some change is possible when Opinions fall within the latitude of rejection, the greater the discrepancy the less the change in attitude (Himmelfarb & Eagly, 6979 Kiesler et al., Insko, ).

    Subjects in the "relevant experimental treatment" who initially had low attitudes toward the course in question were expected to experience dissonance when they stated positive comments about this course. The dissonance-producing experience was heightened by leading the students to believe that a group of peers and faculty would view the videotapes. The videotaping session and the signing of the release were included to make the treatment procedures as forceful and irreversible as possible. The two other treatments were included to control for the impact of videotaping and for change due to extraneous events.

    The basic assumption of these theories is the need of the individual for consistency. There must be consistency between attitudes, between behaviors, and among attitudes and behaviors. A lack of consistency causes discomfort so that an individual attempts to ease the tension by adjusting attitudes or behaviors in order to once again achieve balance or consistency. One of the earliest consistency theories was balance theory (Himmelfarb & Eagly, 6979 Kiesler, Collins & Miller, 6969 O'Keefe, 6995).

  • Nonrelevant treatment group: "The entire committee would like to study your opinions, so I will give you several minutes to think of everything positive you can about (a course irrelevant to the study and to the attitude tests). Then I will take you to the next room where we will ask you to state your positive comments while you are being videotaped. We need to videotape you so that the entire committee can get together and observe all the videotapes. I'll give you 5 minutes to collect your thoughts.
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