Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 1–30 | Cite as

Attitudinal and consequential expectancies in behavioral decision making

  • William K. GabrenyaJr.
  • Bruce J. Biddle


Two experiments were conducted to investigate the degree to which persons distinguish between what are termed “attitudinal” and “distant consequence” expectancies, the conditions under which consequential expectancies predict behavior, and the effects of conflicting attitudinal and consequential expectancies. Attitudinal expectancies are beliefs about the immediate hedonic outcomes of behaving; consequential expectancies are beliefs about distant, nonsocially mediated behavioral outcomes. A simulation experiment was conducted in which, in a 3×3 design, subjects either were or were not given attitudinal and consequential information about hypothetical behaviors that either favored or did not favor performing the behaviors. A second experiment extended the first by using a real rather than a hypothetical decision dilemma and by manipulating attitudinal (and social support) versus consequential expectancies in a 2×3 design. The results of the two studies were nearly identical in supporting the attitude-distant consequence distinction and in demonstrating that consequential considerations are an important antecedent of behavioral decisions. The implications of these findings and of the expectancy theory/decision-making approach to the development of a broad theory of action are discussed.


Social Support Decision Making Social Psychology Simulation Experiment Behavioral Outcome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ajzen, I. Attitudinal vs. normative messages: An investigation of the differential effects of persuasive communications on behavior.Sociometry 1971,34 263–380.Google Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. The prediction of behavioral intentions in a choice situation.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1969,5 400–416.Google Scholar
  3. Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. Attitudes and normative beliefs as factors influencing behavioral intentions.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1972,21 1–9.Google Scholar
  4. Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M.Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1980.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, N. H. Functional measurement and psychophysical judgment.Psychological Review 1970,78 153–170.Google Scholar
  6. Arkin, R. M. Self-presentation. In O. Wegner & R. Valicher (Eds.),The self in social psychology. London: Oxford University Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  7. Biddle, B. J.Role theory: Expectations, identities and behaviors. New York: Academic Press, 1979.Google Scholar
  8. Cacioppo, J. T., Harkins, S. G., & Petty, R. E. The nature of attitudes and their relationships to behavior. In R. Petty, T. Ostrom, & T. Brock (Eds.),Cognitive responses in persuasion: A test in attitude change. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum, 1979.Google Scholar
  9. Carlson, A. P.The relationship between behavioral intention, attitude toward the behavior and normative beliefs about the behavior. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois, 1968.Google Scholar
  10. DeVries, D. L., & Ajzen, I. The relationship of attitudes and normative beliefs to cheating in college.Journal of Social Psychology 1971,83 199–207.Google Scholar
  11. Einhorn, H. J., & Hogarth, R. M. Behavioral decision theory: Processes of judgment and choice.Annual Review of Psychology 1981,32 53–88.Google Scholar
  12. Fazio, R. H., Zanna, M. P., & Cooper, J. Direct experience and attitude-behavior consistency: An information processing analysis.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 1978,4 48–51.Google Scholar
  13. Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I.Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1975.Google Scholar
  14. Gabrenya, W. K., Jr., & Arkin, R. M. The effect of commitment on expectancy value and expectancy weight in social decision making.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 1979,5 86–90.Google Scholar
  15. Isen, A. M., Shalker, T. E., Clark, M., & Karp, L. Affect, accessibility of material in memory, and behavior: A cognitive loop?Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1978,36 1–17.Google Scholar
  16. Jaccard, J. Attitude and behavior: Implications of attitudes toward behavioral alternatives.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1981,17 286–307.Google Scholar
  17. Janis, I. L., & Mann, L. A.Decision making. New York: Free Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  18. Kanouse, D. E., & Hanson, L. R., Jr. Negativity in evaluations. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, S. Valins, & B. Weiner (Eds.),Attributions: Perceiving the causes of behavior. Morristown, New Jersey: General Learning Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  19. Kaplan, K. J., & Fishbein, M. The source of beliefs, their saliency, and prediction of attitude.Journal of Social Psychology 1969,78 63–74.Google Scholar
  20. Kelman, H. C. Further thoughts on the processes of compliance, identification, and internalization. In J. T. Tedeschi (Ed.),Perspectives in social power. Chicago: Aldine, 1974.Google Scholar
  21. Komorita, S. S., & Bass, A. R. Attitude differentiation and evaluation scales of the semantic differential.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1967,6 241–244.Google Scholar
  22. Lingle, J. H., & Ostrom, T. M. Retrieval selectivity in memory-based impression judgments.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1979,37 180–194.Google Scholar
  23. Lynch, J. G., Jr. Why additive utility models fail as descriptors of choice behavior.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1979,15 397–417.Google Scholar
  24. Lynch, J. G., & Cohen, J. L. The use of subjective expected utility theory as an aid to understanding variables that influence helping behavior.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1978,36 1138–1151.Google Scholar
  25. March, J. G. An introduction to the theory and measurement of influence.American Political Science Review 1955,49 431–451.Google Scholar
  26. Miniard, P. W., & Cohen, J. B. An examination of the Fishbein-Ajzen behavioral-intentions model's concepts and measures.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1981,17 309–339.Google Scholar
  27. Mischel, W. Cognitive appraisal and transformations in self-control. In B. Weiner (Ed.),Cognitive views of human motivation. New York: Academic Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  28. Mitchell, T. R., & Biglan, A. Instrumentality theories: Current uses in psychology.Psychological Review 1971,79 432–454.Google Scholar
  29. Neter, F., & Wasserman, W.Applied linear statistical models: Regression, analysis of variance, and experimental designs. Homewood, Illinois: Irwin, 1974.Google Scholar
  30. Parducci, A. Range-frequency compromise in judgment.Psychological Monographs, 1963,77(2).Google Scholar
  31. Parsons, T.The social system. New York: Free Press, 1951.Google Scholar
  32. Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Heesacker, M. Effects of rhetorical questions on persuasion: A cognitive response analysis.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1981,40 432–440.Google Scholar
  33. Price-Williams, D. R., & Ramirez, M., III. Ethnic differences in delay of gratification.Journal of Social Psychology 1974,93 23–30.Google Scholar
  34. Schwartz, S. H. Normative explanation of helping behavior: A critique, proposal, and empirical test.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1973,9 349–364.Google Scholar
  35. Schwartz, S. H. Normative influences on altruism. In L. Berkowtiz (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 10). New York: Academic Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  36. Schwartz, S. H., & Tessler, R. C. A test of a model for reducing measured attitude-behavior discrepancies.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1972,24 225–236.Google Scholar
  37. Songer-Nocks, E. Situational factors affecting the weighting of predictor components in the Fishbein model.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1976,12 56–69.Google Scholar
  38. Tesser, A. Self-generated attitude change. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 11). New York: Academic Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  39. Wicker, A. W. An examination of the “other variables” explanation of attitude-behavior inconsistency.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1971,19 18–30.Google Scholar
  40. Wyer, R. S., & Carlston, D. E.Social cognition, inference, and attribution. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum, 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • William K. GabrenyaJr.
    • 1
  • Bruce J. Biddle
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Professional PsychologyFlorida Institute of TechnologyMelbourne
  2. 2.University of Missouri-ColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations