The Ways of Change - Part 2 - The Process of Attitude Change

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Social Reality: Violence, Power, and Change
The Ways of Change - Part 2 - The Process of Attitude Change

"Real attitude change comes from inside, and not from outside"- charlie777pt


You can't make or force anyone to change their attitudes, but involvement and the right information in the situations can facilitate the internal transformation of attitudes.
The real change of attitudes is voluntarist and autonomous, but people can show "fake behaviors" to avoid coercion of authority pressure or punishment, showing a "false transformation".

Social nexus and norms are the gluing elements of a group cohesion that are used as a common reference system for people's attitudes and patterns of behavior that are interiorized and shared by the group as a referencial frame for social order.
Without norms that define sanctions for the deviant conducts, people feel disorientation and tend to elaborate them to create a psychological distension from the absence of references.

The spheres of influence of Change can happen by coercion to comply (negative) or by persuasion to influence motivation(positive).
Conformity generates internal change, not as a direct cause of power, but by the subjective validity of social norms, which the individual internalizes.

An enlightened minority can lead to an extraordinary change of the collective towards a utopian way for a better social equilibrium.
Minorities have futuristic prophecies of an alternative social order of progress towards a utopia that justifies their actions of resistance to change the norms.

I like the theories of Natural rights showing that people have inalienable rights, to life, to own property, and the right to find liberty as the essential ingredients the nourish human happiness as the the pillars of civilization and society.

1 - Types of Influence

Asch, Jenness and Sheriff defined the most common type is the Majority Influence when people change their behaviour to conform to the conducts imposed by the largest number of people in a group.
Moscovici studied the Minority Influence that is a common phenomenon and it happens when a large part of people in a group changes their behaviors to match the new conducts of a minority.

2 - Attitude Change

"All change, all novelty, provokes feelings of hostility. In the simplest sensorial phenomena, the passions of fear, love and hate reign, including the passive passion of inertia." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Let us then begin to analyze the process of changing attitudes at the individual level be it opinions, intentions or behaviors.
Let us speak of the "study of the conditions of the conditions in which the individual or collective positions change meaning or intensity" - Montmollin cited by Gustav Fischer


Social Psychology analyzes attitudes in the communication processes that by new organized information change the vision and perspective and persuade people to transform their opinion based on the content of the messages addressed to them.
The change of attitudes is therefore a mechanism of social influence to discover the actions that intervene in the situations, using structured information in the messages in the communication processes, as the main stimulator of the change.

"In the field of inter-experience between human beings, we must learn to put us in the place of the others, to understand them and ourselves, because both peers permanent values are being virtualized in the process of communication, to improve our resilience for adaptation and the elasticity of our permanent values"- charlie777pt

3- The Messages as Arguments for Change

The information as the content of the messages can include 3 types of arguments:
  • Ethos - (directed to the social subject) based on the credibility of the message or the "importance" authority that issues it.
  • Pathos - (for the affective subject) - Information to trigger feelings and emotions.
  • Logos - (to the cognitive subject) -logical-mathematical information that influences the cognitive subject.
Information needs to be well encoded in messages to through the communication processes, and effectively change collective behaviors and social norms.

4 - Norms and Social Change

"One of my favorite philosophical tenets is that people will agree with you only if they already agree with you. You do not change people's minds." - Frank Zappa
Laws are the instruments of politics and are used to make cultural changes and to regulate the desired behaviors, and alter or maintain a social situation.
In our "civilized" and "advanced" society with a globalization with the objective of dehumanization, lower wages, higher stress and working hours, worst welfare and health care, worst education and less participation, populism and conservativism, etc.
The meaning of "civilization" today is increased productivity, accelerating time and psychic distress and low motivation and uncertainty.

The world Gini coefficient that measures the asymmetry of income, is getting bigger in all the countries, and governments of millionaire politicians are helping to generate these inequalities in their self-interest and their supporting lobbies.
Centralized systems are controlled by a dominant minority of capitalists sucking the rights of the majority of the population and decentralization is the key for the socio-economic structures of the future of all humanity.

Osgood and Tannenbaum in 1955 found out that people feel attracted by empathetic sources of information facilitating the adherence to the message and the ideas.
The research in the change of attitudes deals with a complex multi-variety of factors and is very centered in the intra-psychic level that is away from the interactions and the conditions where they happen.

Some investigators consider that fear is a great influence in changing behaviors according to the messages.
In my humble opinion Power based in fear or punishment do not change the attitude of a person, but he/she shows the compliant conduct to the authority showing a "false conformist behavior".

"The oldest and strongest emotion of Humanity is fear, and the oldest and strongest type is the fear of the unknown" - H.P. Lovecraft.

For existentialism, human life is to be lived and it is fluid, rich, and so diversified and it can not be systematized or conceptualized in paradigms.
Human existence will always be anguish of personal choice in the face of uncertainties, sorrows and despair, an open system of constant change as the antithesis of balance and there is no transcendent determinism or fatalism of destiny.

We finish here the talk about the theories and concepts of change of Attitudes, to present in the next posts the perspective of collective transformations in social change.

Video: Attitude and Behaviour

Last posts in this series on Social Reality: Violence, Power and Change
Social Reality: Violence, Power and Change

A - Violence:

An Introduction to Violence
The Concepts of Violence, Aggression, and Aggressiveness
The Theories on Violence
The influencers of Violence -Part One - Culture and Social Context
The influencers of Violence -Part Two - Social , Cognitive and Environmental Factors
The ascend of Today's Violence

B -Power:

What is Power? - Introduction
The Nature of PowerThe Dynamics of Power: The Effects and Consequences of Power

C - Change:

Change and Culture
The Theories and Concepts of Change
Factors determining Change - Part 1 - Lite version
Factors determining Change - Part 2 - Complex version
The Ways of Change - Part 1 - Concepts and Theories
The Ways of Change - Part 2 - The Process of of Attitude Change- this post

Articles from the next series of posts about Social Reality, Violence, Power and Change: C - Change:(cont.)

A Social Change - Part 1 - Innovative Change by Minorities

References consulted:

Les concepts fondamentaux de la psychologie sociale - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer La psychologie sociale - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer The social-violence dynamics, Power, change - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer, Planeta / ISPA, 1980 Gustave-Nicolas Fischer is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Psychology Laboratory at the University of Metz.

French, J. R. P., and Raven, B.H. (1959). The bases of social Power.
Raven, B. H. and Rubin, J. Z. (1976). Social psychology: People in groups
Castel, R. The metamorphoses of the social question. Voices, 1998.
Moscovici, S. (1976). Social influence and social change. London: Academic Press
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison
Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes.
French, J. R. P., Morrison, H. W., and Levinger, G. (1960). Coercive Power and forces affecting conformity
Dahl, R.A. (1957), The Concept of Power.
Giddens, Anthony, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber, 1971.
Grabb, Edward G., Theories of Social Inequality: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives,1990.
Weber, Max, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, 1968.
Lewin, K. (1948) ‘Action Research and Minority Problems’, in G.W. Lewin (ed.), Researching Social Conflicts, New York: Harper and Row
Parsons, T. (1966). Societies: Evolutionary and comparative perspectives.
Levy, A. (1986) Second-order planned change: Definition and conceptualization, Organisational Dynamics
Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J.H., Fisch, R. (1974) Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution. New York, Norton.

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Your articles have so many points that deserve to be delved deeper into, so I need to pick one, otherwise your page won't load properly anymore :)

So I take the very first sentence "You can't make or force anyone to change their attitudes".

Right! Often we tend to attempt telling and convincing others about our insights and try to rescue them in a way. But there is no need to rescue them! They have the right to experience themselves just as we have for ourselves. First and foremost, words are useless. Practicality is the clincher. Only when we practically embody change, then others "see" it. Quite often we forget the practical part when we focus too much on the theoretical part, which makes us unauthentic. Authenticity is yielded in practicality not in theoretic words. ;)

Thanks once again!

We can't change anybody but we can detect the people that say that they are going to change and the ones that are just having a new year's day kind of changes.
It means that when someone is changing from within, then we must help to create all the conditions that facilitate that change.
I have learned that if you are treating addictions (like hard drugs), the 3% normal percentage of cures for all life, was the people that would show to detox by their own decision, and not by other people influence.
The ones that were brought by the pressure of other people and did not want to get well, would never stop the vicious circle.
And yes the real statistics of people long-time exposed to hard drugs or alcohol only 3% get out of it for life(terrifying).
Like the Buddhist says "the fish dies by the mouth" for us mean only "don't eat too much", for them there is the spiritual meaning of "We must not say, what we don't intend to do", meaning you're dying mentally when you lie to yourself.
Attitudes are intentions to act, and if we don't act, it means we are lying about our real attitudes.

"The ones that were brought by the pressure of other people and did not want to get well, would never stop the vicious circle."

Yeah, that is why I say that leaving one's comfort zone is rather useless, because for me it implies that the external is pushing us to doing something we are not yet ready internally.

They are not stable, and because of the communication and behavior of other people, are subject to change by social influences, as well as by the individual's motivation to maintain cognitive consistency when cognitive dissonance occurs—when two attitudes or attitude and behavior conflict.

Sartre side that the fundamental life of people was only the constant anxiety of choice between Yes and No.
Even in real freedom of choice humans always have to deal with their needs, inconsistencies, dissonances, and congruences.
To have solid values about life reduces the anxiety of choice.
The more we know ourselves the less we suffer from the perpetual choice in life to find an equilibrium that is never reached.
But the law of lifeis to fight for that equilibrium.

The attitude you pose is greatly influenced by the links of friendships you bookmark. Good friends, good attitudes; best friends, best attitudes. Guess what for toxic friends...!

The world is full of toxic and optimism attitudes, and we must know both universes in us and in other people.
In life people we think that are good friends can turn out to be bad, like a wonderful and gorgeous day can turn into a doomsday.
We will never know what is happiness with feeling sadness, like "the day" would mean anything if there was no "night".
The is the balance of opposites like Toxic/optimism is part of every one of us that is just One.
There is no logical separation between the egg and chicken because they are just one cycling system.

Admit to yourself that you're not happy. You can't change anything if you aren't aware that something needs to be changed. ...
Realize optimism is a choice. ...
Use positive words. ...
Hang out with friends who have a happy vibe. ...
Say a daily affirmation.

We must not confuse awareness of the surrounding reality with sadness or frustration.
Some people associate a sharp think about reality with negativism, just because they feel sad when they are awake for reality.
Optimism is not heaven where some people live in today.
Is positive words to be blind and believe in inner built false happiness?
Mambo jumbo psychology with me do not glue.
And you are very good psychologist by knowing all my problems, all my friends, and what I'm doing and what I shouldn't do.
I'm not interested in planet Heaven of the good vibes.

wow very excellent post Thanks for sharing i will done upvote..