Explore BrainMass

Cognition and Attitude

What two ways can cognition and affect impact attitude formation, and what three functions do attitudes serve? To what extent do attitudes impact behavior?

Solution Preview

Hi student,

(1) What two ways can cognition and affect impact attitude formation?

(a) Attitude formation and conditioning

An area of Social Psychology is the study of individuals' attitudes and how they form or develop. Research points to two distinct types of attitudes: explicit and implicit attitudes. By way of definition, implicit attitudes differ from explicit attitudes in that implicit attitudes are unconscious, and explicit attitudes are conscious. Based on formation, explicit attitudes form and change through the process of fast-learning rules and reasoning; whereas implicit attitudes form and change through slow-learning processes and associative reasoning (Rydell, & McConnell, 2006). Cognition shapes the way people process and understand information, and is studied from a number of perspectives. The cognitive component of attitudes and how they develop is focused on one's beliefs and choices, and the affective component concentrates on emotions and feelings. One aspect of cognition is concerned with one's ability to obtain new information. For instance, experiences of learning such as habits, attitudes and behaviors are all associated with conditions of learning. Several studies have been conducted in Social Psychology focused on the need for cognition in shaping attitudes from the perspective of conditioning.

Thus, one way that cognition can affect and impact attitude formation is through conditioning. For example, Priluck and Till (2004) examined the Pavlovian theory of classical conditioning as a form of cognitive associative learning. The theory explains a form of classical conditioning in which an individual processes information to form connections among events that occur in the environment. This learning process allows for successful predictions of pleasure or danger, which must occur with cognitive thought. For example, research shows the need for cognition in influencing contingency awareness in attitudinal formation. Contingency awareness explains how the individual understands the relationship between stimuli and products and can make the connection. For instance, according to Priluck and Till, consumer research utilizes the process of classical conditioning in which contingencies among stimuli are formed in a market society. They provide an example of being conditioned by stimulus exposure that occurs in advertising involving manipulating individuals' association with a specific product. Products are paired with stimuli to elicit emotional responses (e.g., beautiful scenery, models, or music).

As Priluck and Till (2004) explain further, high involvement has been found to influence consumer response to stimuli in marketing studies. For instance, studies show that individuals who are highly involved with a stimulus are less likely to respond to music as an unconditioned stimulus than to information provided regarding the ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes the formaton of attitudes and their functions within cogntive processes.