Attitude and Social Cognition Class 12 Notes

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Attitude and Social Cognition Class 12 Notes

Humans are complex beings and are highly influenced by multiple factors. These factors shape our judgments, attitude, perceptions, and result in our behaviour. In this blog, Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes, we will go through how exactly our attitude is formed and how our behaviour varies in social situations.

Nature and Components of Attitude

The first topic under Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes is the nature and components of attitudes. Attitude is defined as the way in which we perceive the world around us and more specifically it can be defined as our opinion, state of mind, and views on a particular topic called attitude object.

Three components of Attitude:

  • Affective component: It is defined as our feelings about the attitude object.
  • Behavioural component: It is defined as a predisposition to act towards the attitude object in a certain manner.
  • Cognitive component: It is defined as our beliefs about the attitude object.

There is a clear distinction between attitude, beliefs, and values:

  • Beliefs are defined as the cognitive component of attitude and they lay the foundation of attitude. For example, Belief in God
  • Values are ethics and moral values that have a should or an ought aspect. For example, Honesty, Integrity, etc.

Features Of Attitude

There are various features of attitude. The four significant features of attitudes are explained as follows:

  1. Valence (Positivity/Negativity) clearly exhibits whether our attitude towards the attitude object is positive or negative in nature.
  2. Extremeness tells us if an attitude is positive or negative.
  3. Simplicity or complexity (Multiplexity) tells the number of attitudes present within a broader attitude. Attitude can be simple if it has only one attitude and it can be complex as well if it comprises several attitudes within a broader attitude.
  4. Centrality defines the role of a particular attitude in the attitude system and how it impacts the other attitudes in the attitude system.

Attitude Formation and Change

Humans acquire attitudes in various ways. The Attitude Formation and Change for Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes are explained below:

Process of Attitude Formation

  1. Learning attitudes by Association: This is definitely evident when a student likes a subject because he/she likes the teacher teaching that subject. Thus, this positive association also helps the students in learning the subject.
  1. Learning attitudes through Exposure to Information: Attitudes are also learned by exposure to information apart from the physical presence of others. For example, Reading about Relationships would help us in understanding it’s importance in our life.
  1. Learning attitudes by Group or Cultural Norms: We learn attitudes through Group/Cultural Norms. Norms are unwritten social rules which everyone is supposed to adhere to under specific situations. Doing prayer daily is a must in some religions and children by seeing their parents doing prayer daily, develop a positive attitude towards prayer.
  2. Learning attitudes through Modelling: We also learn attitudes by observing others. For example, children can learn generosity by observing the pro-social Behaviour of their parents.
  1. Learning attitudes through Reward/Punishment: If a child is appreciated for his/her particular attitude, then he/she will continue it further. For example, rewarding a child when he scores good marks in exams: Whereas if a child is reprimanded for spending too much time on. Social media, then he/she will develop a negative attitude towards it.

Factors that Influence Attitude Formation

Attitude formation takes place through many factors like Modelling, Reward/Punishment, and Association. Other Factors that influence Attitude Formation are explained as follows:

  1. Family and School Environment is important for attitude formation in childhood and adolescence.
  1. Reference Groups indicate norms about acceptable behaviour and ways of thinking in society.
  1. Personal Experiences play a crucial role in attitude formation. For Example, if raj was provided emotional support by his friend in times of need, then it is most likely that raj will develop trust in people and will be there for others in times of need.
  1. Media Related Influences have become an important factor in influencing attitude formation especially in times of technological advancement as audio-visual media and the internet have become very powerful sources of attitude formation. For Example, If the media highlights the high recovery rate of coronavirus then people will be less scared and more relaxed.

Also Read: Chapter 5 Psychology Class 12 Notes: Therapeutic Approaches

Process of Attitude Change

The process of Attitude Change has been studied and theorized by many researchers. The major theories are explained as follows-

Balance Theory

This theory was proposed by Fritz Heider. It can be described in the form of a P-O-X triangle where P is the person whose attitude is being studied, O is the other person and X is the attitude object. Balance is crucial as imbalance would be logically uncomfortable. As per this theory, the balance would be attained-

  1. When all the three sides of the P-O-X triangle are positive.
  2. When two sides of a P-O-X triangle are negative and one side is positive.

For example, If P has a positive attitude towards Counselling in times of Psychological distress (X), then( P-X) is positive but if O has a negative attitude towards X then side (O-X) is negative but at last P and O are good friends then side (P-O) is positive. Here, the two sides are positive and one side is negative which implies imbalance and for creating balance O will have to develop a positive attitude towards X.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

  • It was proposed by Leon Festinger
  • Here the main emphasis is laid on the Cognitive component of the attitude and it should be consonant which means that they should be logically in line with each other.

For example, Cognition 1: One must not smoke. Cognition 2: I like to smoke. Here, both the Cognitions are dissonant that are not logically in line with each other.

  • In order to attain Cognitive Consonance, the person in the given case should either stop drinking or shouldn’t preach that one must not drink alcohol.
  • Both Balance theory and Cognitive Dissonance Theory are examples of Cognitive consistency, that is the Cognitions must move in the same direction. Cognitive Dissonance leads to mental discomfort.

Two-step Theory

The two-step theory was proposed by Indian Psychologist S.M Mohsin. Attitude change takes place in two steps: 

  1. The target of change identifies with the source and the target is the one whose attitude has to be changed and the source is the one through which the attitude of the target will change. Identification is the process in which the target of change identifies with the source and has regard for the same
  2. The source shows the change in his/her attitude by changing the Behaviour towards attitude object and target also changes attitude by observing the source.

For example, If Sarthak’s favourite cricketer advertises cola and thus, Sarthak will also start drinking cola. Here the target of change is Sarthak and the source of change is his favourite cricketer. If the cricketer realizes that cola and other soft drinks are not good for his fans then he will bring a change in his own attitude and stop advertising cola and thus, Sarthak will stop drinking cola as well.

Factors that Influence Attitude Change

Since humans are easily affected by multiple factors that can influence our attitude. Let’s check some of the major factors that influence Attitude Change for Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes:

Characteristics of the Existing Attitude

  • There are 4 properties of existing attitude namely valence(positive/negative), simplicity or complexity, extremeness, and centrality play an important role in influencing attitude change.
  • A positive attitude is very easy to change as compared to a negative attitude and extreme and complex attitudes are difficult to change as well.
  • Attitude change can be congruent which implies that a Positive attitude can become more positive and vice-versa.
  • Attitude change may be incongruent when it takes place in a direction opposite to that of the existing attitude which implies that a Positive attitude may become negative and vice-versa.

Source Characteristics 

  • Source attractiveness and source credibility are two important factors that influence Attitude Change.
  • Attitude change is most likely to happen when the information comes from a highly credible and attractive source as compared to a less credible and attractive source.

Message Characteristics 

  • attitudes will change when the amount of information that is given is sufficient enough.
  • Whether the message contains an emotional appeal or rational appeal does make a difference in influencing attitude change.
  • The motive and mode of the message are crucial as well.

Target Characteristics

  • Characteristics of target like persuadability, intelligence, and self-esteem determine attitude change.
  • People who are flexible, open, and broad-minded accept changes in their attitude as compared to people who have rigid and flexible approaches.

Attitude Behaviour Relationship

There would be consistency between attitudes and behaviours when:

  1. When a particular attitude occupies a central place in the attitude system.
  2. When a person is not evaluated by others
  3. Absence of any kind of external pressure to behave in a specific way.
  4. When the person is aware of his/her attitude.
  5. When an individual would believe that a particular individual would have a positive impact.

Prejudice And Discrimination

Let’s check the next topic under Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes, Prejudice and discrimination. The stereotype is defined as a collection of ideas about a specific group and all members belonging to the stereotyped group are assumed to possess those characteristics. Prejudice is defined as an unverified negative attitude towards a group. Hatred is its affective component and Discrimination is the behavioural component of prejudice.

Social Psychologists have come up with the following sources of prejudice:

LearningPrejudice can be learned through reward/punishment, Modelling, and Reference Groups and a prejudiced person does harbor resentment and hostility towards the outgroup.
A strong social Identity and In group BiasIndividuals who have a strong sense of social identity and a positive attitude towards the group to which they belong boosts their ego and thus they hold negative attitudes towards other groups.
ScapegoatingThe majority group places blame on the minority group for their socio-economic matters because the minority group may be weak or small in number.
Kernel Of TruthSmall components of truth about a particular group can be overemphasized, leading to prejudice towards that group.
Self Fulfilling Prophecy The group which is the target of prejudice at times is itself responsible for prejudice towards it as it behaves in such a way that conforms to negative expectations about them.

Strategies for Handling Prejudice

Even though prejudice can easily cloud our judgement, there are ways to handle prejudice. The following are the strategies to handle prejudice for Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes:

  • Minimising opportunities for learning prejudices
  • Changing such attitudes
  • De- emphasizing the narrow social identity of the group

The above-mentioned strategies can be effectively accomplished through the following steps:

  1. Education and Dissemination of information will help in tackling prejudice and stereotypes towards the specific target groups
  2. Increasing intergroup contact will facilitate direct communication, removal of misunderstandings between the groups and this can be successful only when the group members meet in a cooperative context.
  3. Highlighting the individual identity rather than group identity will help in properly understanding the person of the specific target group.

Check out the Psychological Disorders Class 12

Social Cognition

The next topic for Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes is social cognition. The concept of social cognition is explained as follows-

  1. Social Cognition refers to the process of gathering and analysing information regarding social objects and it includes all the processes which help in understanding, interpreting social behaviour.
  2. Social cognition is guided by mental units known as schemas.
  3. Schemas are mental structures that provide guidelines about processing information about any object and they reduce the time and effort required in cognition
  4. Schemas that function in the form of categories are termed Prototypes.

Impression Formation and Explaining Behaviour of Others through Attribution

Let’s check the next topic under Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes which is Impression formation. The person who forms the impression is known as the perceiver and the person about whom the impression is formed is known as the target. The perceiver attributes the causes for the target’s behaviour and thus, explains the reason why the target behaved in a particular way. Factors that influence impression formation and attribution are explained as follows-

  • Situational Factors.
  • Nature of information available to the perceiver.
  • The personality of the perceiver.
  • Social Schemas in the perceiver.

Process of Impression Formation:

  • Selection-The perceiver gathers some bits of information about the target.
  • Organization-The perceiver systematically combines the information.
  • Inference – the perceiver concludes the target that what kind of a person he/she is.

The sequence in which the information is presented also determines the impression formation:

  • Primacy effect: the information presented first has a stronger influence and impact than the information which is presented at the end.
  • Recency effect: the information presented last has a stronger influence and impact than the information which is presented first.
  • Halo Effect: we have a tendency to think that if a person has a particular set of positive qualities then he/she must be having other positive qualities too.

Attribution of Causality

Attribution is defined as the process of assigning causes to a person’s behaviour in a specific situation and the causes assigned may be classified as internal causes(within the person) and external causes(situational factor).

  • Fundamental Attribution Error

In a specific situation while assigning causes to a person’s behaviour more focus is laid on the internal factors of the individual than on the external factors

  • Actor Observer Effect

There is a clear distinction between the attribution made for one’s own positive and negative experiences and others’ positive and negative experiences. The main reason for the actor-observer effect is that a person desires to have a nice image of himself/herself in front of others.

Behaviour in Presence of Others

The mere presence of others brings a drastic change in our performance and this is called social facilitation. Norman Triplet observed Social Facilitation in 1897 when he saw that a cyclist’s speed was higher when he was cycling in a group as compared to solo cycling. When the person fears being evaluated in front of others it is known as evaluation apprehension. Reasons why Social facilitation happens:

  • Person experiences arousal and because of that work is carried out more intensely.
  • The nature of the task to be performed in the presence of others determines our performance.
  • When other presents are also performing the same task, is a situation of co-action.

Social Loafing is observed When there a large number of people present in a group then all of them will take less effort if they are performing something together and this is based on diffusion of responsibility.

Pro-Social Behaviour

Attitude and Social Cognition class 12 notes also includes the detailed topic of pro-social behaviour, The concept of Pro-Social Behaviour refers to the behaviour in which an individual does good for others without expecting anything in return. It is also known as Altruism and can’t be done by exerting pressure on an individual. The Factors influencing Prosocial Behaviour

  • Prosocial behaviour is activated by learning. For example, if the family emphasizes being kind and generous, then children from such families will be altruistic.
  • Social norms must be kept in mind while helping others.
  • Social Responsibility-Duty to help others in times of need.
  • Reciprocity: Helping those who have helped us in the past.
  • Equity: Help when it is fair to do so.
  • Prosocial behaviour will be exhibited by those who are very empathetic,i.e. Who can feel the distress of others.
  • Prosocial behaviour may be reduced when there are many bystanders.
  • For example, A road accident victim usually doesn’t get help as there are many people surrounding him/her and others passing by thinking that he/she will get help. This is called Diffusion Of Responsibility

NCERT Solutions Attitude and Social Cognition

Define attitude. Discuss the components of an attitude.

Attitude is defined as how we perceive the world around us and more specifically it can be defined as our opinion, state of mind, and views on a particular topic called attitude object

What are the factors that influence the formation of an attitude?

Factors that influence the formation of an attitude are Family and School environment, Reference Groups, Personal Experiences, and Media-Related Influences

Describe the important factors that influence impression formation.

Ans 3 Factors that influence impression formation and attribution are explained as follows:
– Situational Factors
– Nature of information available to the perceiver
– Personality of the perceiver
– Social Schemas in the perceiver

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