Discussion4 10222020 | Psychology homework help

Week 4: Self-Knowledge and Attitudes

Different people think differently about themselves. Some think very positively about themselves while others consider themselves in a more negative light. Where do these self-perceptions come from? How do you develop the view you have of yourself? Is it because of how you were raised or from what your parents told you as a child? Is your self-view due to the view your peers, teachers, coworkers, or close friends have of you? And is your self-perception fixed and permanent or can you change it?

This week, you examine how you come to know yourself. You consider how you develop your attitudes about the objects, issues, people, and other aspects of life. You also look at what it takes to change your attitudes and the attitudes of others, should you want or need to persuade or should you want to resist persuasion.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze messaging intended to form or change attitudes
  • Analyze sources of self-knowledge
  • Apply social comparison theory to specific situations
  • Identify and apply concepts, principles, and processes related to self-knowledge, cognitive dissonance, and attitudes

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Sommers, S. R. (2019). Social psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Chapter 5, “The Self: Understanding Ourselves in a Social Context”
Chapter 6, “Cognitive Dissonance and the Need to Protect Our Self-Esteem” (pp. 149-151; 155-166)
Chapter 7, “Attitudes and Attitude Change: Influencing Thoughts and Feelings”

The National Archives. (n.d.). Powers of persuasion: Poster art from World War II. Retrieved from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/powers_of_persuasion/powers_of_persuasion_intro.html 

Required Media

Annenberg Learner. (2001). The self [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.learner.org/series/discovering-psychology/the-self/

Document:  Annenberg Learner. (2001). The self (Transcript of Media).

View the excerpt on self-concept and self-efficacy found at minutes 6:03–10:36 of the video (lines 39–73 of transcript)

Optional Resources

Document: Week 4 Study Guide (PDF)

Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Sommers, S. R. (2019). Social psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
“Social Psychology in Action 2: Social Psychology and Health” (pp. 461-478)

Berger, J., Meredith, M., & Wheeler, S. C. (2008). Contextual priming: Where people vote affects how they vote. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 105(26), 8846–8849.

Rydell, R. J., Sherman, S. J., Boucher, K. L., & Macy, J. T. (2012). The role of motivational and persuasive message factors in changing implicit attitudes toward smoking. Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 34(1), 1–7.

Snyder, M. (1974). Self monitoring scale [Interactive measurement instrument]. Retrieved from http://personality-testing.info/tests/SMS/

This is a 25-item, 2-minute Interactive version of the Self Monitoring Scale. (This is part of a current research project and so scores will be recorded, used, and possibly shared with other researchers. Any information that could reasonably be used to identify you will not be shared.)

Raskin, R., & Terry, H. (1988). Narcissistic personality inventory [Interactive measurement instrument]. Retrieved from http://personality-testing.info/tests/NPI.php

This site provides a self-report measure of narcissism and feedback about one’s score.

Cuddy, A. (2012, June). Your body language shapes who you are [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en

This video demonstrates the concept of power posing. The relevant part of Cuddy’s TED Talk is from 09:37 to the end. The entire video is approximately 21 minutes.

Discussion: Attitudes and Persuasion

Think about one specific attitude you have about something important to you. Why do you think as you do? What has influenced the development of the attitude you have toward this topic? What actions do you take because of this attitude? What would it take to change this attitude if you wanted to? Is an attitudinal change possible?

Attitudes are formed and maintained in many ways. Social psychologists have studied how people form their attitudes for decades and from many perspectives. Why are researchers so interested in attitude? For one thing, your attitude typically influences your behavior. For example, attitudes about political topics such as war, abortion, civil rights, and so on, influence voting behavior. Advertisers attempt to create attitudes about the products they are trying to sell with the ultimate goal of making money for their clients. Persuasion is an attempt to change an attitude. Political operatives, advertisers, and others thoughtfully create persuasive messages to change attitudes and ultimately behavior.

For this Discussion, you examine messages that you have seen recently and consider how they attempted to be persuasive regarding attitude formation or change.

To prepare:

  • Read Chapter 7 in your course text, Social Psychology.
  • Review the website, “Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art From World War II” to see examples of propaganda messages intended to influence attitudes.
  • Think about a particular persuasive message (i.e., a message that is persuasive to you or tries to be persuasive) you have seen recently in the media. It could be a political message; a public service campaign; a commercial on television, radio, or online; a print ad in a magazine or newspaper; or an op-ed piece. Generally, the message should not be a news story if the news story is an objective report with the intent to inform and not persuade.
By Day 3

Posta a brief description of the ad/campaign/commercial/etc. and a description of its message. Please provide an Internet link to the message itself if that is where you found it.  Who does the target audience seem to be? Then, apply what you have learned about attitude formation and attitude change to the message. In other words, analyze how the message uses attitude theory and information about how to form and/or change attitudes (or behaviors) in its messaging. Be specific and provide examples.


  • In the subject line of your post, write the topic, issue, or product addressed in the persuasive message.
  • Support the responses within your Discussion post, and in your colleague reply, with evidence from the assigned Learning Resources.
  • You are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleague’s postings. After clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link, select “Create Thread” to create your initial post.
By Day 5

Respond to at least one of your colleague’s Discussion assignment postings in one of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question, and provide insight into how you would answer your probing question and why.
  • Ask a probing question, and provide the foundation, or rationale, for the question.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting by offering a new perspective or insight.
  • Agree with a colleague and offer additional (new) supporting information for consideration.
  • Disagree with a colleague by respectfully discussing and supporting a different perspective.
Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:
Week 4 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

To participate in this Discussion:
Week 4 Discussion

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