By Susan T. Fiske, Daniel L. Schacter, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler
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Extra info for Annual Review of Psychology, vol 52 2001
52:27-58. org by Ball State University on 01/05/09. For personal use only. ATTITUDE STRENGTH Strong attitudes are thought to have a number of interesting qualities. They are said to be relatively stable over time, to be resistant to persuasion, and to predict manifest behavior. Visser & Krosnick (1998) documented changes in attitude strength over the life cycle. Contrary to the common belief that cognitive flexibility and readiness to change one’s attitudes decline with age, the results of several studies demonstrated that susceptibility to attitude change declines from early to middle adulthood and then increases again in late adulthood.
Each belief associates the object with a certain attribute, and a person’s overall attitude toward an object is determined by the subjective values of the object’s attributes in interaction with the strength of the associations. Although people can form many different beliefs about an object, it is assumed that only beliefs that are readily accessible in memory influence attitude at any given moment. A belief’s chronic accessibility tends to increase as a function of the frequency with which the expectancy is activated and the recency of its activation, as well as the belief’s importance (Higgins 1996, Olson et al 1996).
Intentions to eat sweets showed a consistent pattern of gender differences: women’s intentions were under the influence of both attitudes and subjective norms, whereas only attitudes significantly predicted the intentions of men (Grogan et al 1997). Finally, the readiness of managers to undertake benchmarking in their organization was influenced by their attitudes toward this behavior, but only if they had past experience with it. Inexperienced managers were influenced by their normative beliefs concerning the expectations of others in the organization (Hill et al 1996).