Attitude Measurement

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Attitude Measurement


As mentioned earlier, attitude has three elements – cognitive, affective and behavioural. Out of these, direct information about cognitive and affective elements cannot be obtained. In the measurement of attitude, these elements are often estimated, what the person says and does? It is based on this. Paper and pencil scales are prominent among the popular methods of attitude measurement. There are several methods of constructing these scales. Mainly the popular scales are being discussed here.


Thurstone Scale: Although the measurement of the attitudes of a person seems very simple, but in reality it is not so. The main reason for this is that there is ambiguity in asking direct questions related to attitude in the sense that the respondent expresses his opinion by taking a specific meaning of them. In such a situation, it is not possible to compare the scores of any two persons on the attitude scale as they would be indicative of two different things. To overcome these difficulties, Thurston (1929) started a laboratory at the University of Chicago whose purpose was to create valid and scientific measures of attitudes. This method of Thurston is known as Equainterval method. The construction of the scale by this method is completed in the following seven steps:

(a) First of all, a number of statements related to the target object of the attitude are collected or prepared.

(b) These statements are evaluated by judges who are similar to the persons for whom the scale is made. These judges divide these statements into eleven categories. These classes range from highly favorable (I) to very least favorable (II).

The statements about which the judges are of the same opinion are selected for the scale and the disapproved statements are discarded. The grades in which a statement is selected by the judges, its scores are added to all the judges. Then its median is determined. This median is the scale value of that statement.

(r) These statements are administered to a group of subjects who have to agree or disagree with each statement.

(l) The agreement of the statements is given marks on the basis of the median value of that statement. The median value of the total statements is indicative of the attitude of the application.


Likert scale: It takes a lot of time to manufacture Thurston scale. It takes more effort. Therefore social psychologists have developed some simple methods of attitude measurement. Likert (1932) developed a similar simple method. By this method the construction of attitude scale is completed in the following steps:

(a) A number of statements related to different aspects of attitude are collected. Often these statements are selected on the basis of individual’s experience, researcher’s understanding or prior testing.

(b) These statements are administered to a group of subjects in which the subject has to express his/her agreement/disagreement with each statement on a five-class scale. This scale includes the categories of “highly dissimilar (1)”. The subject has to express his attitude on any one category. The researcher may increase the number of categories of the scale if he so desires.

(c) Each statement is given a score related to the category indicated and the sum of the marks of all the statements is determined. After this, the correlation between the marks scored on each statement and the total marks is found. On the basis of correlation, only those statements are selected, which have more correlation with the total marks. The method of selecting statements in this way is called item analysis. Both the above mentioned scales are used in social psychological research. And both these measurements have been proved to be authentic. For example, the reliability of the scale by Thurston’s method. 75 or more were found. More than 40 correlation coefficients have been found between the attitude scales made for the same object by Thusten and Lichte method. Hence, it can be said that both the methods of measurement have validity.





Semantic – Differential Technique :

This method was developed by Asgood, Susie and Tenenbaum (1959) to measure the meaning of words. This method was used to measure attitude. In this method, attitude is measured on the basis of adjectives having two ends. Both the ends of the adjective are placed on the seven-point scale and the applicator has to express his opinion in terms of the ends of the adjective (eg – good and bad). Out of the seven points of the scale, the middle point represents neutrality and 3 – 3 points on the left and right sides are for the first and second ends respectively. The intensity of the attitude is determined on the basis of the proximity of the ends of the points. In the form of a means of measurement, through this method, such as Evaluative, good. . . . Bad, Potency. For example – weak – weak, and activity, such as – slow. . . _ The adjective related to fast is chosen. Often adjectives related to the appraisal dimension are kept for the attitude scale.


Bogardus Social Distance Scale: This scale is constructed by E. R . Bogardus (1925). The purpose of Bogardus while creating this scale was to measure social distance towards people from different countries. Under this, a list of different types of tasks is presented in the form of statements. All these statements express different social distances. These statements present an increase in social distancing, respectively. The applicant has to classify the attitude stimuli, such as country, caste, class etc., in the category of one of the alternatives of the different distance options of the scale. In the original study, Bogardus took the following categories:

1. To be accepted as a kin on matrimonial grounds.

2 . To be accepted as an integral friend.

3. to be accepted as a neighbor.

4. To be accepted as a colleague in the job.

5. to be accepted as a citizen.

6. to be accepted as a tourist.

7. Refusing to be allowed to remain within the borders of the country. It is clear from looking at the above categories that the first series shows very closeness and gradually the distance increases in the later categories. This scale is used to understand the proximity and distance, likes and dislikes of a person to various attitude stimuli. But there is no definite basis for the distance being equal between the different statements of this scale. As a result, it is not considered statistically very accurate.


Disguised Techniques:

The techniques discussed above try to measure the attitude of a person directly. But the person is not always ready to give the right answer. Sometimes he gives wrong answer or tries to hide his answer. To overcome this difficulty, psychologists have developed many such techniques, which try to measure the attitude of the person indirectly rather than asking directly. Often these methods fall under the category of Projective Techniques. Sentence Completion , Story Building and Contextual Comprehension Test or T. a . Tea . has also been used to measure attitude. Being subjective, it poses a complex problem to analyze the data obtained from these techniques in a reliable and valid manner. Their use is very limited.


Attitude Change


In the modern era, in an effort to bring about a change in the behavior and thoughts of the individual, various organizations are engaged through many means of communication. Business establishments also try to change attitudes by advertising in favor of their produced goods. Although the change in attitudes also happens on the basis of one’s own experiences, but the research of socio-psychologists has revealed various methods of induced attitude change. Social psychologists have done extensive study of the factors influencing attitude change, the relationship between attitude change and behavior change, duration of change, barriers to attitude change, etc. Attitude change has been given central importance in modern socio-psychology. The study of attitude change is a part of the process of social influence. in this Persuasive communication has special importance which is discussed in the seventh chapter of the book.


When considered from the theoretical point of view, two forms of explanation of attitude change are obtained – on the one hand there is cognitive theory in which the individual is considered to be trying to maintain balance in the components of attitude, on the other hand there are explanations based on reinforcement which are based on reward and punishment. Gives strength These principles have already been discussed. Therefore, it is not necessary to discuss them in detail again. Nevertheless, it seems necessary to mention that the theory of cognitive dissonance has been specially used in attitude change.




Inadequate Justification:

It has been shown by many experimental studies that illogical behavior leads to more changes in attitude than illogical communication. For example, in an experiment conducted by Janice and Mann (1965) smokers were asked to play the role of a cancer patient. The experimenter played the role of a doctor and presented his opinion by explaining the reason for smoking to the patient. Later it was found that the attitude of the participants towards smoking improved.


Rewards have also been used in such experimental studies. In these, the subjects are rewarded for behaving inconsistently with the attitude. In the previously discussed experiment of Festiger and Karlsmith (1959) one group was given less reward ( $ 1 ) for misbehaving and the other group was given more reward ( $ 20 ) . The results of the experiment showed that the less rewarded subjects had a greater degree of attitude change; While those who get more awards have less. Why did this happen? This question has been interpreted on the grounds of insufficient judicial consistency. If there is less reward for performing the irrational behavior, then the person cannot consider the irrational behavior as rewarding; In the event of a high reward, he thinks that the illogical behavior was done for money. Therefore, those who get less rewards start considering only the uninteresting work as interesting. In short, communication is more effective and facilitates attitude change when the actions taken by the source are considered to be due to internal causes.


Quantity of effort and change of attitude: The more effort a person has to work towards achieving the goal, the more important that goal becomes for the individual. Eranson and Mills (1959) found in their study that the more difficult it is to get membership in a group, the greater the attraction towards it. It is important in the context of attitude that the person resists the change in those attitudes which he has acquired through hard work and attachment.


Expectation of performance: Every person tries to mold his behavior according to the expectations made by others. If a person is expected to perform at a high level, he/she strives for a higher level. Conversely, the expectation of a low level of performance results in a low level of performance. In a study of caste stereotypes by Rath (1973), it was found that the persons belonging to the lower caste group used negative adjectives for themselves as do the members of the upper class. Thus the expectation of another important person or group for the individual affects the attitude of the individual.


Commitment and the will of the individual: Brahm and Kohn (1959) debunk the cognitive dissonance theory, saying that the individual experiences more euphoria when committed. When a person gives consent (whether by his own will or coercion) to do an act against the attitude, then the person commits to that behavior. With this commitment the earlier attitude of the individual becomes inconsistent. This situation facilitates attitude change. Kiesler (1971) found the result that high commitment conditions lead to greater resistance to attitudes and increased persistence.


Attitude change is a complex process. For this to be effective, it is necessary that the person or source who is trying to change the attitude, has a positive attitude towards him. Unless this happens, every attempt to change the attitude will be unsuccessful. In the Indian perspective, efforts are being made by government and voluntary organizations to bring about changes in many areas like family planning, life insurance, adult education, improved methods of agriculture, etc. Looking at the success of these efforts in the context of the above scenarios, the complexity of attitude change can be estimated.
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