Brown Bag Talk by Dr. Michelle See on 2 October

Speaker: Dr. Michelle See Ya Hui

Title: Objective and Subjective Approaches to Measuring Attitude Structure: Considering the Theoretical Implications of Methodological Choices

Date: 2nd October 2013 (Wednesday), 12pm-1pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


Attitudes refer to evaluations of issues, objects, persons or groups on a dimension ranging from negative to positive. Besides differing in valence, attitudes can vary in their structural properties, and such variations have impact on information processing, persuasion, and behavior. For example, in addition to knowing the degree to which a message recipient is opposed to or in favor of an advocacy, it is also important for a persuader to know whether the recipient’s attitude structure is dominated by emotions or beliefs.

In this talk, I define and review objective and subjective approaches to measuring various structural properties including affective and cognitive consistencies, accessibility, certainty, importance, knowledge, and ambivalence. I discuss traditional perspectives on objective and subjective approaches, and propose a new perspective for understanding these two approaches. Focusing on affective and cognitive consistencies, I present evidence in support of the new perspective that objective and subjective measures of attitude structure tap into ability processes and motivational processes, respectively.

Readings of interest for the current talk include:

See, Y.H.M., Valenti, G., Ho, Y.Y.A., & Tan, M.S.Q. (in press). When message tailoring backfires: The role of initial attitudes in affect-cognition matching. European Journal of Social Psychology. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.1967

See, Y. H. M., Petty, R. E., & Fabrigar, L. R. (2013). Affective-cognitive meta-bases versus structural bases of attitudes predict processing interest versus efficiency. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1113-1125.

See, Y.H.M., & Khoo, B.L.Z. (2011). Tailoring information to change attitudes: A meta-structural approach. In I.M. Saleh & M.S. Khine (Eds.), Attitudes research in science education: Classic and contemporary measurements (pp.177-198). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

See, Y.H.M., Petty, R.E., & Fabrigar, L.R. (2008). Affective and cognitive meta-bases of attitudes: Unique effects on information interest and persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 938-955.

About the speaker:

(Ya Hui) Michelle See is an assistant professor of Psychology at National University of Singapore. She received her bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude; 2001) in psychology from University of Arizona, and her M.A. (2003) and Ph.D. (2007) in social psychology from Ohio State University. Her research focuses on attitudes and persuasion, with investigations in domains such as education-related policies, prejudice and intergroup relations, prosocial behavior, and consumer choice.

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