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Attitude Measurement

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Attitude Measurement: Types of Measurement/To understand attitudes, it is necessary to know how attitudes are measured. Attitudes cannot be observed directly, but rather, they are inferred through behavior and self-report. As a result, social psychologists use a variety of methods to measure attitudes. By analyze methods social psychologists use to conduct attitude research and taking an in-depth look at the distinction between explicit and implicit attitudes and their respective measures. In their seminal article on subjective reporting of mental processes, Nisbett and Wilson (1977) argue that when asked to self-report on mental processes, people report more information than would be possible for them to actually know. This argument has implications for research that relies on introspective awareness for the self-reporting of attitudes and behaviors. As applied to attitude measurement, this argument leads to the question: Which factors influence whether or not you can provide an accurate self-report of your attitudes and behaviors?

What are two possible implications of the Nisbett and Wilson (1977) article on self-reporting of attitudes.

Explain how the perspectives in the article might influence how social psychologists conduct attitude research.

Provide your position on whether or not individuals are capable of accurately reporting their own attitudes and justify your position with references.

Some resources and other scholarly literature you can use:

Blanton, H., Jaccard, J., Christie, C., & Gonazales, P. M. (2007). Plausible assumptions, questionable assumptions and post hoc rationalizations: Will the real IAT, please stand up? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(3), 399-409.

Cunningham, W. A., Preacher, K. J., & Mahzarin, R. B. (2001). Implicit attitude measures: Consistency, stability, and convergent validity. Psychological Science, 12(2), 163-170.

Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwartz, J. L. K. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The implicit association test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6),1464-1480.

Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84(3), 231-259.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Nosek, B. A. (2007). Implicit-explicit relations. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(2), 65-69.

Crites, S. L., Jr., Fabrigar, L. R., & Petty, R. E. (1994). Measuring the affective and cognitive properties of attitudes: Conceptual and methodological issues. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20(6), page 619-634.

Fazio, R. H. (2001). On the automatic activation of associated evaluations: An overview. Cognition and Emotion, 15(2), 115-141.

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Life seems to have its way of catching up. Just as I was setting up for a busy education fair, news has reached me that my beloved granny, the one who raised me has just passed away. May she meet your sister in heaven. But as for us here, life goes on. Thank you for your patience. On to the task - here, you are being asked to reflect on attitude measurement. I suggest using this simple outline:

1. Attitude Measurement by Nisbett & Wilson - 100 words
2. Factors of influence & implications - 150 words
3. Perspectives impact on research - 100 words
4. Position - 100 words

Attitude Measurement

How do we measure attitude? McLeod (2009) reflects that since attitudes are all about to self-image & social acceptance, "the most straightforward way of finding out about someone's attitudes would be to ask them." But this notion of self-reporting can be flawed in many ways as people do not always report their 'true attitudes' in a bid to attain a positive self-image for social desirability. In 1977 Nisbett & Wilson published the study 'telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes' in issue 84 of the Psychological Review. Here they propose a different perspective - that it is not necessarily the desire for a positive social standing that people do not report about their attitudes, their emotions and thinking as true as they can but because they (Psychwiki, 2010) "do not have direct introspective access to many (if not most) of their mental processes." But in situations of talk, in communication, it is possible for people to 'tell more' about themselves (hence, their attitudes) than they themselves and the interviewer expect. This essentially is the position of Nisbett & Wilson(1977). Process-wise their method is explained simply as such (Psychwiki, 2010) - "The basic methodology in these studies is ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses types of measurement to understand attitudes.