Psychology 3723G 001 FW23

Attitudes and Attitude Change

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.



LONDON               CANADA 

Department of Psychology 

Winter 2024 


Psychology 3723G Section 001 

Attitudes and Attitude Change 





This course will describe research and theory in social psychology relating to attitudes. Topics to be covered include dissonance, factors associated with effective persuasion, resistance to persuasion, advertising, religious attitudes, environmental attitudes, prejudice, and propaganda.  


Antirequisite(s): Psychology 3721F/G, Psychology 3740F/G, the former Psychology 3710F/G.  

(Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. If you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course.) 


Prerequisite(s): Both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or the former Psychology 2820E, or both the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810. 



Extra Information: 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour. 


Course Weight: 0.5 


Note: Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites. 





Instructor: Professor Julie Aitken Schermer  

Office and Phone Number:  SSC 4429    ext. 84699  

Office Hours: Wednesdays 9:30-11:30am or by appointment  



Time and Location of Classes: see Student Centre 

Delivery Method: In-Person 



Teaching Assistant: Rui Sun 

Tutorial Sections: 004 and 005 

Office: SSC 6327  

Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:30-3:30PM and 3:30-4:30PM 



Teaching Assistant: Mackenzie Christina Smith 

Tutorial Sections: 002 and 003 

Office: SSC 6327  

Office Hours: Fridays 10:30-11:30am & Wednesdays 1-2pm  



Time and Location of Tutorials: See Student Centre 

Delivery Method: In-Person 


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. 


Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147. 


2.1 Online Learning Notice: 
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information. 




Maio, G.R., Haddock, G., & Verplanken, B. (2019). The psychology of attitudes & attitude change. Lonon, UK: SAGE Publications Ltd. 


ISBN: 978-1-5264-2584-3 (pbk) 

[available at the university bookstore, note, e-book options are also available] 




At the completion of this course, students should be able to understand and explain the basic theories of attitudes and attitude change.  In addition, and especially based on the essay component, students will have a solid understanding of how attitudes are researched.  Topics include attitude theories, behavior genetics of attitudes, and factors associated with the formation of attitudes and how attitudes influence human behaviour. 


Lectures complement the textbook and will include new information.  Lecture notes are not posted; therefore, it is important for students to attend the lectures. 


Discussion in the class is encouraged.  It is preferred that students ask their questions or give their opinions during the lectures and not after the lecture has ended.  Discussion points raised at the end of the lecture will be directed to the tutorials and/or the following lecture. 




Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge.  

  • Understand the theories behind attitudes 
  • Describe how attitudes are influenced by behaviours and influence behavious 

Lecture, textbook, essay (research proposal), discussions 

Exams, essay (research proposal), tutorials 

Knowledge of Methodologies.  

  • Explain how attitudes are assessed 
  • Discern the possible weaknesses behind self-report and observational assessment 

Lecture, textbook, essay (research proposal), discussions 

Exams, essay (research proposal), tutorials 

Application of Knowledge.  

  • Propose how certain attitudes can be examined/researched 

Lecture, textbook, essay (research proposal), discussions 

Essay (research proposal), tutorials 

Communication Skills.  

  • Communicate clearly through writing or the research proposal as well as tutorial discussions about the assigned attitude topics 

Essay (research proposal), discussions 

Essay (research proposal), tutorials 

Awareness of Limits of Knowledge. 

  • Explain the limitations behind attitude research 

Lecture, textbook, essay (research proposal), discussions 

Essay (research proposal), tutorials 




The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives. 


Please note that because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay component to pass the course.  The grade for your essay must be at least 50% 


5.1 EXAMS 


There will be two multiple choice exams in this course to ensure factual and concept knowledge and understanding.  The first, worth 25% of your grade, will take place in the class, will cover the first five chapters and the second will be cumulative and cover chapters 1 to 11, be worth 30% of your grade, and will take place during the April exam period. 


5.2 RESEARCH PROPOSAL ESSAY – 30% of Course Grade 


You will be required to write a 10-page (approximately 2,500 words) research proposal (plus title page and references) designed to investigate how: to assess certain attitudes; correlations between attitudes and other individual differences (such as personality); the influence of attitudes upon behaviours (can be context-dependent, such as the workplace); or experimental designs to change attitudes. 


All proposals MUST include at least 10 references to articles in peer-reviewed journals, a proposed method, and proposed means of data analysis.  Proposals need to be double-spaced, left-justified, and written in APA format. 


Proposals are due in tutorials for the week of March 18-22 and the latest that the proposals can be submitted to your TA will be 11:59pm on Friday March 22.  Any proposals after that time will not be accepted and assigned a grade of zero.  NOTE: you may submit your proposal before March 18th. 


Marks will be based on the quality of the writing, the clarity and accuracy of describing the articles, and the soundness of the research design and proposed analysis. 




Participation in weekly tutorials is worth 15% of your course grade.  Participation grades are based on both quantity and quality (see table below).  You will be expected to present your proposal topic on Feb. 7 or 8 or Feb. 14 or 15 (depending on when your tutorial occurs). Proposal topics need to be thought through in that the topic has been researched and an explanation of how the topic will be investigated is explained, including a proposed method section. 


Marking rubric for tutorial participation: 



Exemplary (90%+) 







Frequency of participation 

Initiates discussions more than once for each tutorial 

Initiates a discussion once in each tutorial 

Initiates a discussion at least half of the tutorials 

Does not initiate a discussion in the tutorials 

Quality of comments 

Comments are always insightful, constructive, and content-related 

Comments are mostly insightful, constructive, and content-related 

Comments are sometimes insightful, constructive, and content-related 

Comments are uninformative and are not content-related 

Listening and contributing 

Listens attentively when others present their comments and build upon people’s remarks 

Mostly listens attentively when others present their comments and typically builds upon people’s remarks 

Sometimes listens attentively when others present their comments and infrequently builds upon people’s remarks 

Does not listen to othes, does not pay attention, and does not add to the discussion. 







There are NO make-up exams.   


For students with approved academic consideration for missing the midterm, the cumulative final exam will be worth 55% of the course grade. 

PLEASE NOTE: Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%. 


NOTE: This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least three full days before the date of the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty. 



The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages: 


70% 1000-level to 2099-level courses 

72% 2100-2999-level courses 

75% 3000-level courses 

80% 4000-level courses 


The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see: 


A+ 90-100 One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level 

A 80-89 Superior work that is clearly above average 

B 70-79 Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory 

C 60-69 Competent work, meeting requirements 

D 50-59 Fair work, minimally acceptable 

F below 50 Fail 


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components. 


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course. 




Tutorials Weekly 

Exam 1 In class, Feb. 12,  

Research Proposal/Essay At the latest on 11:59pm on Friday March 22 

Final exam April exam period (April 11-30) 




January 8 Chapter 1 – What are attitudes and how are they measured? 

January 15 Chapter 2 – The three witches of attitudes (content, structure, and function) 

January 22 Chapter 3 – The influence of attitudes on information processing and behavior 

January 29 Chapter 4 – How do attitudes influence behaviour? 

February 5 Chapter 5 – Cognitive influences on attitudes 

February 6 or 7 present your proposal topic in the tutorial 


February 12 – EXAM 1 in class (chapters 1-5) 

February 14 or 15 present your proposal topic in the tutorial 


February 19 – Reading Week 


February 26 Chapter 6 – Affective influences on attitudes 

March 4 Chapter 7 – Behavioral influences on attitudes 

March 11 Chapter 8 – Basic principles in how attitudes are shaped 

March 18 Chapter 9 – The internal world 

March 22 11:50pm last possible time to submit your research proposal to your TA 

March 25 Chapter 10 – The external world 

April 1 Chapter 11 – An eye to the future 

Last class 


April 11-30 Final Exam Period Exam 2 (location will be announced; Chapters 6-11) 





We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. 


With this, we respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land, as they are the original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service. 





Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link: 


As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and ( 


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating. 


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.  


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University. 



Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at: 

In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance. 



Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:  

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;  
  1. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate. 


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation. 


Students seeking academic consideration: 

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;   
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence 


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term. 




In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor. 




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette: 

  • please “arrive” to class on time 
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet) 
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material 
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise 
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak 
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable 
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting 


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following: 

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question. 
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking. 
  • Self-identify when speaking. 
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise). 


General considerations of “netiquette”: 

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course. 
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing. 
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate. 
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately. 


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct. 




Office of the Registrar:   


Student Development Services:  


Psychology Undergraduate Program: 


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: 

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology ( 


Copyright Statement: Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent. 


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions: Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor. 


  1. The Importance of Writing your Own Papers (by Social Science Associate Dean Shrubsole)


While solely relying on AI, such as Chat GPT or Google Summarizer, to ‘write’ your papers, may result in you getting high marks, it will not serve you well in the long term when you are required to think and write on ‘your own’ for employers.  Using AI to assist in research will greatly improve the idea-generating process.  However, a key question is, “How will you effectively communicate these ideas, especially if they are based on your own original research?”  After graduating from Western employers may ask what is the ‘added value’ you bring to them, especially if you are over-relying on AI to do the writing and thinking for you?  


Your courses offer you the opportunity to develop your thinking and writing skills.  Take advantage of the opportunity before you hit the job market!  Read below and find out why writing is more important than ever, and resources available at Western should you wish to further improve your writing skills. 


See what one of our recent Undergrad Alumni said about the importance of WritingAlannah Dharamshi - Social Science - Western University ( 


Why is it important to improve your writing skills?  (Copied from the University of Arizona Global Campus:   The Importance of Writing Well & How to Grow as a Writer | UAGC 


1. Writing has become the #1 way we communicate with others. 

We do more writing as a society than ever before. It has now become the primary way we gather information and interact and connect with others. Improving your written communications allows you to confidently communicate with everyone. Writing is often the first impression that others have of us. Writing is often the first impression that others have of us. 


2. People judge you based on your writing. 

Our writing is often the first impression that others have of us. People often read our writing before ever meeting us face to face. Errors or disorganized or incomplete thoughts in our writing lead others to make assumptions about our intelligence and our character. 


3. You’re more likely to get what you want with clear and direct writing. 

Writing is a form of communication. We often communicate in order to request something of someone. If the one reading your request cannot fully understand or locate what you need from them, you are not likely to get your request fulfilled. 


4. Writing is an essential job skill. 

Even if you don’t do a lot of writing on the job (which is rare), you still communicate in other ways. Improving your writing helps you to become a better communicator overall and it also improves your reading, which is another essential job skill. And your ability to write a well-crafted application, resume, and cover letter is the first step to getting a job. 


5. Writing expresses your thinking skills. 

Disorganized writing could indicate that your thinking is disorganized. If your writing is not fully developed, it could indicate that you have not fully developed your thoughts. Improving your writing skills will improve the way you think about your topic and help you explain or discuss it with others. 


Where to get support for improving your writing at Western 


On-line tips to improve your writing:  :  

Effective Writing Skills - Anthropology - Western University ( 


In-person assistance: 

Western Writing Support Centre Writing Support Centre - Western Libraries - Western University ( 


Essay Exam Essentials: 

Western Learning Development & Success:  Presentations & Workshops - Learning Skills Services - Western University ( 


Other Academic Skill Development (e.g., time management, effective learning habits,…) 

Western Learning Development & Success  Learning Development & Success - Western University (