Advanced Social Psychology Midterm Examination Essay

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In social psychology, a person’s attitude is a “cognition that often with some degree of aversion or attraction (emotional valence), that reflects the classification and evaluation of objects and events” (attitude, 2011). Typically, attitudes are examined because of the desire to observe and understand one’s behavior. Behaviors are the “potential and expressed capacity for physical, mental, and social activity during the phases of human life” (human behaviour, 2011). Social psychologists have found that attitude and behavior can be influenced and even changed through different means of persuasion.
Doug McKenzie-Mohr studied how social psychological methods can be employed to persuade people to change their behaviors in such ways that
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Examples of repetitive behavioral changes could be walking to work instead of driving or committing to a weekly recycling program. Since repetitive actions often require a person to give up some type of comfort in their lives, a greater focus on how to implement such changes must be made. However, evidence from the success of the blue-box recycling program, shows that it is entirely possible to alter people’s attitudes and actions, regardless of whether or not they will have to curtail some personal comfort. Since we are a society that is accustomed to consuming a lot of resources, enacting programs of sustainability that require repetitive change is difficult. To help such programs be successful, potential barriers to change must be identified. Even though finding barriers can add cost and time to a program, McKenzie-Mohr believes it is a crucial step in determining how people’s ingrained behaviors and attitudes can potentially sabotage a plan. “Psychological expertise in the use of focus groups, observational studies, and surveys can be particularly useful in identifying barriers to broad-based participation in sustainable behavior” (McKenzie-Mohr, 2000, p. 533). Methods such as soliciting a commitment from someone to make a change or using prompts to remind a person to uphold a needed change have been proven effective in community-based social marketing studies. “When an individual agrees to an initial small request, the likelihood that he

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