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Intentions and behaviors::Intention

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Intentions and behaviors Although human behavior is extremely complex and still remains unpredictable, psychologists are trying to understand the influential factors in the process of forming intentions and performing behaviors. The theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behavior are comprehensive theories that specify a limited number of psychological variables that can influence behavior, namely (a) intention; (b) attitude toward the behavior; (c) subjective norm; (d) perceived behavioral control; and (e) behavioral, normative and control beliefs.<ref>Fishbein, M., Bandura, A., Triandis, H. C., Kanfer, F. H,, Becker, M. H., & Middlestadt, S. E. (1992). Factors influencing behavior and behavior change (Report prepared for the National Institute of Mental Health).Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Mental Health.</ref> In the Theory of reasoned action, intention is influenced by the people’s attitude toward performing the behavior and the subjective norm. However, the level of perceived control is believed to be influential on people’s behavioral intention along with their attitude and subjective norms, according to the Theory of planned behavior. Not surprisingly, in most studies, intention is driven by attitudes to a greater extent than by subjective norms.<ref name="Eagly, A. H. 1993">Eagly, A. H., & Chaiken, S. (1993). The psychology of attitudes. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers</ref>

The predictive validity of the theory of Reasoned Action has been examined in numerous studies that have previously served as literature for at least three quantitative reviews. Ajzen and Fishbein (1973) reviewed 10 studies and reported a .63 average correlation for the prediction of behavior from intentions and a mean multiple correlation of .76 for the equation predicting intentions from both attitudes and norms.<ref>Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1973). Attitudinal and normative variables as predictors of specific behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 41-57</ref> With similar objectives but larger samples, Sheppard et al.'s and van den Putte's meta-analyses estimated correlations of .53 and .62 for the prediction of behavior and multiple correlations of .66 and .68, respectively, for the prediction of intentions.<ref>Sheppard, B. H., Hartwick, J., & Warshaw, P. R. (1988). The theory of reasoned action: A meta-analysis of past research with recommendations for modifications and future research. Journal of Consumer Research, 15, 325-343.</ref><ref>van den Putte, B. (1991). 20 years of the theory of reasoned action of Fishbein and Ajzen: A meta-analysis. Unpublished manuscript. University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands</ref> All these studies have reflected the strong correlation exists between people’s attitudes, social norms and their intentions, as well as between their intention and the prediction of their behaviors. However, these correlations are not remain unchanged across all the conditions in people’s life. Although people are likely to develop intentions to perform the behavior, if they have a favorable attitude and perceive the behavior as controllable, then people’s perception of control would be irrelevant to intentions when people have negative attitudes and perceive normative pressure not to commit certain behaviors.<ref name="Eagly, A. H. 1993"/> Research has also pointed out that people are more likely to perform the behavior if they have previously formed the corresponding intentions. Their intentions to perform the behavior appear to derive from attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control.<ref>Albarracin, D., Johnson, B. T., Fishbein, M., & Muellerleile, P. (2001). Theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behavior as models of condom use: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 142-161.</ref> For instance, the reason you are motivated to have a few drinks after work is mostly determined by several factors. The very first one is your intention. Whether you have a positive attitude towards drinking as it can help you relieve stress and enjoy your time can greatly determine your attitude towards drinking after work. Second factor is the subjective norms around you. The level of intention of drinking after work you are most likely to develop is influenced by whether significant people around you also hold favorable attitude towards drinking and whether the society tends to reward people who can drink. The last factor is the level of perceived behavioral control you have towards your intended behavior, more specifically how much confidence you have on controlling how much you will drink. If all of these factors leading towards a direction to enhance your intention to have some drink after work, you are more likely to perform such a behavior. The longer you maintain the behavior of drinking after work, the stronger and higher consistency your original intention will become. As a result, the higher likelihood you will have some drinks in the future.

How people think about and verbally communicate their own intentions also impacts these intentions. For example, asking a question about prior behaviors using the imperfective aspect of language seems to be able to bring out stronger intentions to perform such a behavior in the future.<ref>Conner,M.,Godin,G.,Norman,P.,&Sheeran,P.(2011).Usingthequestion-behavior effect to promote disease prevention behaviors: two randomized controlled trials. Health Psychology, 30 (3), 300 – 309, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0023036.</ref> Accoding to the World Atlas of Language Structures, Imperfective aspects refers to a specific form of language structure used for reference to the present and the future but also for ongoing and habitual events in the past. For example, ‘He writes/is writing/wrote/was writing/will write letters.’.<ref>Östen Dahl, Viveka Velupillai. 2013. Perfective/Imperfective Aspect. In: Dryer, Matthew S. & Haspelmath, Martin (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Retrieved from http://wals.info/chapter/65 on 2015-07-15.</ref> People are more likely to interpret the event as ongoing, and likely to resume the action in the future when it has been described with the imperfective verb aspect.<ref>Madden,C.J., & Zwaan, R.A. (2003). How does verb aspect constrain event representations? Memory & Cognition, 31 (5), 663 – 672, http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/BF03196106</ref> Similarly, using present tense to describe an action as ongoing may strengthen intentions to perform the same action in the future.<ref>Liroz, F. (2010). Web created by F. Liroz Professor in Spanish Language Department at American School of Madrid, Spain, (date Feb. 6, 2012), http://fernando.liroz.es/m/estverbo.htm</ref> Previous research has showed that both information on past behavior and their attitude towards such behavior play crucial roles in predicting people's future behavioral tendency.<ref>Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (2000). Attitudes and the attitude-behavior relation: Reasoned and automatic processes. In W. Stroebe & M. Hewstone (Eds.), European Review of Social Psychology (pp. 1-33). John Wiley & Sons.</ref><ref>Albarracin, D., & Wyer Jr, R. S. (2000). The cognitive impact of past behavior: influences on beliefs, attitudes, and future behavioral decisions. Journal of personality and social psychology, 79(1), 5.</ref> Recent research done by Carrera and others concluded that verb tense may not have direct influence on intentions, however it could still affect the type of information used as a basis of behavioral intentions. When participants described a past episode using the present tense, they consistently used the more concrete past behavior as a basis for their intentions. In contrast, when participants described a past episode using the past tense, they consistently used the more abstract attitude as a basis for their intentions.<ref name=VerbIntention>Carrera, P., et al. (2012). The present projects past behavior into the future while the past projects attitudes into the future: How verb tense moderates predictors of drinking intentions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.</ref>


Intention sections
Intro  Definition  The development of an understanding of intention  Gaze and attentional acts  Biological motion and inferring intention  Simulation theory  Intentions and behaviors  See also  References  External links  

Intentions and behaviors
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