Can you change my attitude?… No way

Q. Explain why it is difficult to change some attitude no matter how strong is the reason to change it. १० marks

11 thoughts on “Can you change my attitude?… No way”

  1. “Mohit has a negative attitude towards politics” involves his beliefs about being involved in politics (cognitive component), negative feelings towards political representatives (affective component) and his tendency to become silent whenever a political conversation starts (behavioural component). So as we can see a person’s attitude towards something involves several components known as ABC components, where a strong reasoning towards changing an individual’s attitude only targets the cognitive part of his attitude.
    Therefore even if Mohit is told that politics is integral to effective functioning of society and welfare of the downtrodden, it may be possible that such a strong reasoning would not amount to a change in his attitude.

    Also for a change to happen to a person’s attitude depends upon how strong his existing attitude is,
    what is the credibility, trustworthiness and attractiveness of the person wanting to change another person’s attitude,
    the message characteristics (rational and emotional appeal), and
    the characteristics of the individual whose attitude is to be changed (persuasibility, strong prejudice, self-esteem and intelligence).

    So with a strong reason, all the above factors need to be taken into consideration to make an individual change his attitude towards something.

    1. Focus of the answer should be on analysing the cause of resistance to attitude change…
      In your answer, ideas are relevant but this aspect has not been addressed appropriately.

  2. Broadly attitude change involves contribution of thse factors:
    1. Characteristics of the existing attitudes
    2. Characteristics of the target
    3. Source characteristics
    4.message characteristics
    First two factors are specifically responsible when we face difficulty in changing some attitudes, no matter how strong is the reason to change them.

    Characteristics of the exisiting attitudes are crucial as we need to know in detail what kind of attitudes are being resistant to change.In general negative attitudes are more difficult to change than positive ones. Similarly, extreme, complex and central attitudes are also difficult to change than moderate, simple and peripheral attitudes for the former have stronger affective , cognitive and behavioral components. also if the direction and extent of attitude change is not similar to that of existing attitude the change is going to be incongruent and difficult. for ex if a person supports tyranny then persuading him for a democratic act is difficult.

    Characteristics of the target (i.e the person whose attitude is to be changed) are also vital here as he is the one who influences the receiving part of the attitude change process.Target’s personality traits, prejudices, intelligence, persuasibility, etc influence attitude change. for ex. people who are more open to experience tend to resist less to change, those high on self esteem and intelligence may change their attitude less easily. There are other factors also like:

    – Reactance i.e. some people view appeal of attitude chgange as direct threat to their personal freedom and hence resist by showing negative or opposite attitude change.for ex: a girl might adopt celibacy in reaction to being persuaded for gtting married.

    – Selective avoidance i.e a tendency to direct our attention away from the information that appeals for change in our existing attitudes which here act as schemas. for ex. we change the television channel which is challenging our existing beliefs.

    -Forewarning i.e. knowing the persuasive event beforehand may make us more resistant to change as our cognitive processes get time to think of counter arguements and also recollect information to refute the persuasive message. for ex. if we know that elections are coming then we might not pay attention to political speeches thinking that candidates are here only to gain votes. though forewarning makes us resistant to change only when we dont want to change our attitude otherwise it may assist in chnage.

    -Active defense of our existing attitudes also makes attitude change a difficult task. Research by Eagly showed that people reported thinking more about the counter attitudinal messages and having more oppositional thoughts about it than pro attitudinal messages.

    -Immunization to strong incongruent attitudes also delays attitude change. here the previous exposure to mild refuting information immunizes the person to strong refuting messages according to McGuire’s research who used biological immunization for analogy. . for ex. if a child faces mild scolding,daily, from mother regarding poor study routine then later if he gets physical punishment he might not feel sudden change and even resist easily by using defensive counter arguments.

    hence some attitudes show resistance to change even in presence of strong reason which calls for our attention to study in depth about the features of such attitudes and respective target and then design the strategy for attitude change.

  3. Attitude refers to state of mind of person in present scenario.

    It involves lot of time to change one’s attitude whether it is from positive to negative or negative to positive.

    Definitely there are some reasons which are responsible for this which we are going to discuss in the following paras:

    CONGRUITY THEORY : Charles E.osgood says that change or degree of change in attitude is decided by the factor that how strong our attitude is towards something.
    So if we develop strong attitude towards one thing we resist the change may b because of EGO DEFENCE mechanism or to maintain balance and consistency in life.

    MOTIVATION BIAS :It pushes person to resist change as he is bias towards one thing like POLITICAL views n all as in this case person thinks that opposite information is coming from irrelevant source or it is not right and important.

    ROLE OF COGNITION:Role of cognition is very dominating in ones’s attitude change as it sometimes involve personal experience.
    Eg:once it is in the news that a girl is saved from rapist by transgender so,whatever girl think about them before is going to change positively which is directly changed her attitude towards them and it is very hard to change as it involve personal experience.

    Leon festinger in 1957 establish in his theory that when we give no justification to a person for particular change we want in him ,we stops his freedom so to maintain his freedom he /she develops the mechanism of consonance .
    Eg:if we told a student to come regularly to class but we dont teach him the importance of regularity in life ,it would become burden on him and to protect his freedom he will become resistive to change.

    Persuasion is very impactful while changing attitude of people thats why CELEBRITY endorsement are highly encouraged and company’s even pay them huge amount to them for this.

    Trustworthiness is obvious requirement for changing attitude.
    Eg: coca cola company make amitabh bachan the brand ambassador for their company for long eight years because people have trust on him .
    But imagine why no political leader heired for this job as they would not have much impact on attitude of people because of lack of trustworthiness.

    So,overall we can say that it is very difficult to change one’s attitude till that attitude doesn’t involve very specific,personal and strong motive in person’s life basically till he himself is not ready for the change.

    1. All points are appropriate… Try to answer in a scientific way. Make use of studies and established theories to support your answer

  4. Attitudes are difficult to change because one of the reasons is the functions it plays in ones life. Daniel Kartz states that attitude are changed when it fails to serve its utility. The functions could be

    Adjustment function: Attitude which help us to adjust to our surrounding. For eg, we tend to use single use plastic, just to adjust to our short term needs.

    Ego defensive function: for eg, If not cleared IAS, the person may say that the service was very hectic.

    Value Expressive Func: for eg touching the feet of your boss, as an expression of respect to old age.

    Knowledge function: to read specific newspaper every morning.

    Therefore the more functions the attitude serves or the function that it serves is cardinal to our survival, those attitudes are strongly kept and are resistant to change.

    There may also be strong reasons to change the attitude, but the characteristics of source and target comes into play.
    If target is not well informed and prejudiced against the message or the source it would be difficult to change the attitude of the person. for eg: A person is skeptical about the lurking danger on his religion, then he would not allow to construct toilet in his house as it may harm his religious beliefs.

    Any strong reason would not affect his attitude, because reasons are just catering the cognitive component of attitude. Here the person is not only irrational but would also develop prejudice against the authority who persuades for such reform.

    1. Try to cover all points related to resistance to attitude change. Be precise as ideas are not clearly addressing the issue.

  5. Attitude change is sometimes crucial for benefit of society such as to prevent hate crimes etc. However, it is difficult because :
    1. People see attitude change as a threat to personal freedom. Research indicates one instead develops reactance i.e negative reaction to counter attitudinal measures.
    2. Forewarning: when people are aware that they are being persuaded. This gives time to develop counter attitudinal reasons and resist. Quin and wood say in such case just the expectation that they are being persuaded is enough to develop resistance to change.
    3. Selective avoidance : tendency to avoid counter attitudinal messages eg:muting advertisements etc
    4. Active avoidance by developing counterarguments : in an experiment when students were students belonging to pro-life and pro-choice were shown counter attitudinal messages on abortion, students actively developed oppostional arguments against counter attitudinal messages and supporting arguments against pro attitudinal messages thus resisting change.
    5. Individual differences : it is diffcult to change attitude of people with high prejudice, high self esteem, independent persons etc.
    6. Ego depletion can undermine ones ability to self regulate and thus resist change.
    7. Cultural differences : it is difficult to change attitude rooted in one’s culture. Eg: recent resistance to supreme court verdict on permitting women’s entry to sabarimala temple.

    1. Points are appropriate ! You should make use of some theory to validate your points. For instance, McGuire’s theory of inoculation against attitude change…

  6. Changing a person’s attitude once developed, depends on the following factors:

    1. Characteristics of the existing attitude:
    Valence – If the attitude is positive or negative. Negative attitude is more difficult to change as compared to positive ones.
    Extremeness – If the attitude is immensely positive or negative.
    Centrality – If this attitude is central (forming a basis for other attitudes). Example, if my evaluations of different cuisines is based on my attitude towards Indian food, then how i evaluate Indian food is difficult to change.
    Finally, if the attitude is complex then too it is difficult to change. Example, my attitude towards a particular phone is difficult to change if I feel one way about its design and opposite way about its color.

    2. Source Characteristics:
    Attractiveness – If the source is attractive, then my attitude can be changed more easily. Example, if someone i consider attractive is endorsing a product, then I might also start preferring it.
    Credibility – A credible source has more influence to change the attitude of a person than someone who is inexperienced in the field. Example, if a doctor endorses a medicine, I am more likely to prefer it.

    3. Message characteristics:
    A rational or an emotional appeal is preferred based on the kind of person and the situation. For example, a mother is more likely to be influenced on products about child care.

    4. Target Characteristics:
    Self-esteem – A person with a low self esteem is easily influenced.
    Finally, a person’s intelligence also determines if their attitude can be easily changed or not.

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