Judgment and Decision Making: Neo-Brunswikian and Process-Tracing Approaches

By Peter Juslin; Henry Montgomery | Go to book overview

Fishbein and Middlestadt ( 1995) rather recently initiated a discussion about the role of noncognitive factors in the formation of attitudes, in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. They argued that when attitudes, beliefs, and values are measured by "standard procedures" (i.e., Fishbein-type procedures), regression analyses of attitude and other analyses show that beliefs and values absorb all the predictive power. Noncognitive factors allegedly are only statistically potent when the models are inadequately specified. This argument met with a number of opponents ( Haugtvedt et al., 1997; Miniard & Barone, 1997; Priester & Fleming, 1997; Schwarz, 1997) who pointed to an extensive literature in experimental social psychology demonstrating what seems to be effects of noncognitive factors, such as the effect of mere exposure. Fishbein and Middlestadt ( 1997) countered, however, that cognitive factors have rarely, if ever, been adequately investigated in such work and concluded that cognitive factors still must be seen as the determining factors of attitudes.

In my view, beliefs and values may well appear to be determiners of attitudes, when analysis is confined to simple regression analysis. But the correlations that are the basis of the regression analyses may well reflect a very different psychological dynamics, as I have demonstrated in the present chapter. Causal relations are not proven by correlations and regression analyses. Expectancy-value models are basically very misleading because they appear to fit, while not capturing the psychological processes in an adequate manner ( Sjöberg & Montgomery, in press).


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author is grateful to Martin Fishbein, Henry Montgomery, Norman Anderson, and Amos Tversky for discussions of some of the problems treated in this paper.


NOTES
1.
Of course, some objects may be of that kind and perceived in a veridical manner. Wishful thinking is implicated when there is a large prevalence of such objects or, with one object, wishful thinking is one factor (but not the only one) behind a belief-value correlation.
2.
These data were provided by Henry Montgomery.
3.
It should perhaps be pointed out that Sweden has a long history of state-regulated alcohol sales, and until 1955 even a rationing system. Since then, regulation is carried out by means of price policies and restricting sales to a few state-controlled stores with restricted time for selling alcohol. Because alcohol consumption by many still is considered to be too high there is, from time to time, a discussion about introducing further restrictions, such as a new rationing system.
4.
In Tables 11.5-8, I have denoted ranges of included probability ratings as follows. "1" means that only category I was included, all others were treated as missing. "1-2" means

-238-

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