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Galdi, Silvia (2009) When you have already made up your mind, but you don't know it yet. [Tesi di dottorato]

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Abstract (inglese)

In five studies, we are going to investigate the differential impact of automatic mental associations and consciously held beliefs on future choices by individuals who claim to be decided versus undecided.
In the first study, we are going to demonstrate that it is possible to detect the implicit preference of individuals who define themselves as undecided prior to a political vote, by means of the Implicit Association Test (Greenwald, McGhee, Schwartz, 1998). This technique, even if considered a reliable measure of the automatic mental associations, so far has not been applied to undecided individuals.
In the second study, we are going to investigate in a deeper way the explicit judgements of individuals who claim to be undecided, providing evidence that they show at level of consciously held beliefs a pattern of propositions that don’t allow participants to reach a definite choice. At the same time, they manifest at level of implicit preference a set of defined and well structured mental associations that are perfectly related to future decisions.
The results of the third study are going to demonstrate that automatic associations of individuals who self-reported being undecided about a controversial political issue predict future choices and changes in consciously reported beliefs over a period of one week. Conversely, in the case of resolute decision makers, consciously reported beliefs predict future choices and changes in automatic associations over the same period.
In the fourth and the fifth study we are going to try to have a first look at a possible strategy by which conscious beliefs of decided individuals consolidate themselves and influence automatic associations in the course of time. The achieved results suggest that conscious beliefs have a strong influence on selective choice of information, and we are going to demonstrate that selective exposure plays a partial mediation role in consolidating of conscious beliefs of decided people. Moreover, we are going to obtain indirect evidence that also the relationship between conscious beliefs and automatic associations should be in part mediated by selective choice of information. On the other hand, this strategy does not occur in the case of undecided people.
The overall findings will be discussed in the general conclusions, stressing their important implications for social sciences which aim at predicting future choice decisions of public interest.

Abstract (italiano)

In cinque studi indagheremo il differente ruolo che le associazioni mentali automatiche e le credenze consapevoli giocano nel determinare le future scelte di coloro che riguardo ad una controversa questione di carattere politico sociale o prima di una tornata elettorale si definiscono certi della scelta che realizzeranno, oppure dichiarano di non aver ancora maturato una decisione definitiva.
Da un punto di vista concettuale, le associazioni mentali automatiche sono non intenzionali, non sono controllabili e possono essere attivate al di fuori della consapevolezza dell’individuo (Bargh, 1994; Gawronski, Bodenhausen, 2006). Tali associazioni automatiche vengono generalmente contrapposte alle credenze consapevoli, che possono essere descritte come quei contenuti mentali che un individuo esprime intenzionalmente e in in seguito ad una attenta e accurata valutazione (Strack, Deutsch, 2004; Gawronski, Bodenhausen, 2006). La misurazione delle associazioni automatiche si è resa possibile grazie allo sviluppo delle così dette misure implicite che consentono di inferire opinioni, credenze, atteggiamenti e intenzioni delle persone a partire dalla rilevazione dei tempi di risposta dei partecipanti in compiti di categorizzazione o di decisione lessicale che vengono svolti grazie all’ausilio del computer. Le credenze consapevoli vengono invece misurate utilizzando strumenti espliciti di self-report come i questionari di atteggiamento o i sondaggi d’opinione.
Nel primo capitolo saranno presentati i risultati dello Studio 1 in cui abbiamo indagato la validità predittiva dell’Implicit Association Test (Greenwald, McGhee, Swartz, 1998), dimostrando che, nel caso di partecipanti che prima di una tornata elettorale dichiarano di non aver ancora maturato una scelta definitiva, consente di anticipare il comportamento che realizzeranno il giorno delle elezioni.
Nel secondo capitolo discuteremo i risultati dello Studio 2 e dello Studio 3. Con lo Studio 2, analizzando in maniera più approfondita i giudizi espliciti delle persone che si dichiarano indecise, saremo in grado di mettere in luce che le credenze consapevoli sono effettivamente costituite da un insieme di proposizioni contrastanti. Tali strutture d’atteggiamento esplicito, da un lato sono la ragione per cui il partecipante non è in grado di esprimere una scelta chiara e dall’altro non consentono di predire la decisione che successivamente verrà realizzata. Allo stesso tempo, i partecipanti indecisi hanno fatto emergere a livello implicito un insieme di associazioni automatiche già strutturate, che si sono rivelate stabili nel tempo e coerenti con la decisione realizzata a distanza di una settimana.
Grazie ai risultati dello Studio 3 dimostreremo che le associazioni automatiche di coloro che si dichiarano indecisi rispetto ad una controversa questione di carattere politico sociale predicono in maniera univoca le scelte future e i cambiamenti nell’atteggiamento esplicito dopo un periodo di una settimana. Al contrario, nel caso di coloro che si dichiarano decisi, sono le credenze consapevoli che predicono in maniera univoca le scelte future e i cambiamenti nelle associazioni automatiche dopo uno stesso periodo di tempo.
Con il terzo capitolo, proveremo a dare un primo sguardo ad una possibile strategia attraverso cui le credenze consapevoli delle persone decise si consolidano e influenzano le associazioni automatiche nel tempo. I risultati dello Studio 4 e dello Studio 5 consentiranno di dimostrare che il processo di esposizione selettiva è una strategia primariamente proposizionale e gioca un ruolo di mediazione parziale nel consolidamento delle credenze consapevoli delle persone decise. All’opposto, questa strategia sembra non realizzarsi nel caso delle persone indecise.
Tutti questi risultati saranno discussi nelle conclusioni generali, dove si cercherà di sottolinearne le importanti implicazioni per le scienze sociali che mirano a predire le future decisioni delle presone riguardo a questioni di pubblico interesse.

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Tipo di EPrint:Tesi di dottorato
Relatore:Arcuri, Luciano
Dottorato (corsi e scuole):Ciclo 21 > Scuole per il 21simo ciclo > SCIENZE PSICOLOGICHE > SCIENZE COGNITIVE
Data di deposito della tesi:30 Gennaio 2009
Anno di Pubblicazione:29 Gennaio 2009
Parole chiave (italiano / inglese):automatic associations, conscious beliefs, decision-making, Implicit Association Test, Single Category Implicit Association Test
Settori scientifico-disciplinari MIUR:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-PSI/05 Psicologia sociale
Struttura di riferimento:Dipartimenti > Dipartimento di Psicologia dello Sviluppo e della Socializzazione
Codice ID:1614
Depositato il:30 Gen 2009
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