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Measurement of attitudes and Anti-social behaviour

Measurement of attitudes and Anti-social behaviour

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Measurement of attitudes and Anti-social behaviour

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  1. Measurement of attitudes and Anti-social behaviour

  2. Measurement of attitudes • Pg. 359-368 • Two main approaches are used to measure attitudes • Observational studies • Self-report methods (i.e. interviews/questionnaire/rating scale)

  3. Observational studies • Observational studies involve watching and describing behaviour as it occurs • The behaviour needs to be clearly visible and able to be recorded • This is considered an indirect measure as it involves observing what someone has done then making inferences or assumptions about the attitude • Generally, people are unaware that they are being observed

  4. When would this method be useful?

  5. Milgram’s lost letter technique (1969) • Prepared 400 identical envelopes which were all stamped and addressed in the same way • One hundred letters were each addressed to • ‘Friends of the Nazi Party’ • ‘Friends of the Communist Party’ • ‘Medical Research Associates’ • ‘Mr Walter Carnap’

  6. Cont. • Letters were placed on footpaths, in telephone booths, in shops and in other places where they were likely to be found by passers by • His observation procedure was to go to the post office box on a daily basis and observing and recording which of the letters were posted after they were found • Results showed: • 72% of the medical letters were posted • 71% of the letters to Walter Carnap were posted • 25% of the Nazi Party and Communist Party letters were posted • Milgram was able to learn about the attitudes of citizens towards certain political groups without participants knowing that they were being studied

  7. Advantages • Observation of behaviour is an unobtrusive technique for measuring attitudes • By being unobtrusive, this helps ensure that participants do not realise their attitudes (as assumed to be reflected by certain behaviour) are being measured • It also allows researchers to gather data that they may not otherwise be able to obtain

  8. Disadvantages • Does not always give an accurate indication of a person’s attitude because observed behaviour and attitudes can often be inconsistent • Is difficult to measure the strength of the attitude (conclusions can only be based on available evidence and evidence is limited)

  9. Self Report methods • Necessary when researching are collecting information on attitudes that cannot be observed • Can be written or spoken answers to questions or statements • Self report data is subjective • Self report data can be both qualitative or quantitative

  10. Qualitative data • Free response (or open ended questions) provide qualitative data • Participants are required to describe their attitude in their own words • These type of responses can be limited or difficult to summarise or score

  11. Quantitative data • Fixed response questions (or closed questions) provide quantitative data • This involves providing participants with a number of fixed answers • These answers are usually easier to interpret

  12. Questionnaires, surveys and interviews • Questionnaire are a written set of questions used in research to gather data • Often used to gather data from a large number of people (can be done in person, by mail, over the internet or telephone • A survey collects information from a carefully selected group of people which the researcher believes in representative of the whole population • Interviews are face to face discussions between researcher and participant with the purpose of gaining detailed information (can be both quantitative or qualitative)

  13. Rating scales • Provide a series of fixed response questions or statements about an attitude and respondents indicate the extent of their agreement or disagreement • Can be used to measure direction (whether in favour or against) and strength (how strongly people react) of an attitude

  14. Likert scale • Measures the direction of an attitude • Usually consists of 20 questions or statements about an attitude to which respondents indicate agreement or disagreement on a 5 point scale • strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree or strongly disagree • Each response has a numerical value which allows attitude to be defined as a score • See examples in text

  15. Advantages of measurement devices • Advantages • Simple to complete • Can be administered to a large number of people at a time • (Usefulness can depend on skill of researcher/administrator) • Provides valuable quantitative data on attitudes

  16. Limitations of measurement devices • Limitations • Cannot be completed by children, illiterate adults, people from non English speaking backgrounds • Participants may not remember their experiences • Participants may misunderstand the questions • Can be time consuming • Social desirability: people give false or misleading answers to create a favourable impression of themselves

  17. Data collection • When collecting data, psychologists need to be objective and to prevent or minimise subjective influences such as personal biases and prejudices

  18. Ethical issues in research on attitude measurement • Respecting rights • Individuals have the right to choose whether they participate and should be adequately informed to make that decision • Participation and the disclosure of information must be voluntary • Researchers need to respect these rights • Obtaining informed consent • Informed consent of each participant or participants legal guardian much be obtained when appropriate (see sample on page 367 of text book) • Confidentiality • Information obtained from participants must be treated in confidence • Researchers should not ‘gossip’ – information received must be private • Individual participants information must not be easily identifiable • Names/locations can be changed

  19. Task • Complete activity 8.28 (pg. 366)

  20. What is anti-social behaviour? • Whereas pro-social behaviour involves positive interactions between people anti-social behaviour is any behaviour that is disruptive or harmful to the wellbeing or property of another person or to the functioning of a group or society • Typically involves actions that break laws, rules or social norms • Anti-Social behaviour is linked to agression

  21. What is aggression? • Aggression is behaviour intended to cause physical or psychological harm to a person (including self), animal or object • This could be physical, verbal or both • Definition is based on someone having the intention to harm (even if the behaviour does not harm) • What we often call aggressive in everyday life does not always fit into the definition adopted by psychologists

  22. Explanations of aggression • psychodynamic perspective: aggression is an inner urge or ‘force’ that builds up within us until it needs to be released • ethological perspective: aggression is instinctive and has adaptive and survival functions • biological perspective: aggression has a biological basis and is therefore influenced by our genes, brain and nervous system • social learning perspective: aggression is a learned behaviour and most of the learning occurs through observing aggressive behaviour and copying what we see

  23. Jigsaw activity • Psychodynamic perspective • ethological perspective • Biological perspective: genetic influence • Biological perspective: neural influences • Biological perspective: biochemical influences • Social learning perspective: observational learning

  24. Bullying: what does the research say • Bullies who are allowed to continue bullying are more likely to have criminal convictions later in life • Students who are victims of bullies are less happy at school than students who are not victims • Victims tend to have lower levels of self esteem and increased feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness