ELM and attitude change

HIJRAH is a big word in the Islamic context. The word was first used to describe the movement of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mekah to Madinah. Hereby, marking the 1st day of the Islamic calendar. Nowadays it is commonly associated with a lifestyle change. Often towards a more Islamic appearance and way of living as seen in our local Malaysian celebrities.

Perhaps the earliest influence of this concept, as far as I could remember were personalities like Wardina Safiyyah, Misz Nina and Irma Hasmie. In fact, the external change that the public saw in them had been so consistent up till now. In between, other celebrities begin to emerge with their Hijrah story, each with their own stories of why they choose to cover up or become more affiliated to the Islamic teaching. Of course, there were few who had challenges along their Hijrah journey and reverted back to their old lifestyle. The latter is a sensitive issue which I personally think is best left between these individuals and The Creator. As outsiders, we don’t really know what they need to face or go through in the local entertainment industry.

Photo by Jose Aragones on Pexels.com

It begs the question.

How do we achieve Long-lasting Attitude Change?

Well, it seems that in psychology we have a reason for that and I will draw your attention to one theory in particular. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of persuasion.

ELM is fairly new in the world of psychology as it was proposed in 1986 by Petty and Cacioppo. The model explains that there are 2 ways in how persuasive communication can cause attitude change : centrally, where people are motivated and pay attention to the arguments, and peripherally, when people are influenced more by surface characteristics. It is evident in studies that those who had attitude shifts are most likely to maintain it if it was based on a strong argument as opposed to those who change because of a peripheral cue.

A lady who chooses to wear a modest outfit including a hijab will most likely continue to do so despite resistance if they understood the Islamic argument behind it. A lady who chooses to don a hijab because they looked prettier in it or just wanting to keep up with the trends are most likely not going to be consistent with it. This is thus an important concept of persuasive communication everyone could use in their daily lives especially when you intend to change a mindset that further initiates a change in behaviour. BECAUSE that link between intention and behavioural change is another set of theories.

First things first is to get the individuals attention to your argument. If they are motivated enough, they would be keen to listen to it and instigate the process of long-lasting attitude change. This usually requires a lot of personal effort on the individuals part. Otherwise, they might just make that temporary shift just because they don’t really care and had thought you simply looked pretty when talking about it.

Anatomy of my notes

There’s never that one correct way of making notes. Every learner has different styles of studying and purpose when making them. Some take notes on their tabs, some have lectures recorded with an audio device whereas others may resort to the good old fashion way of using papers and coloured pens. Even on paper there are various styles like flashcards, mind maps and such.

I use paper. It is easier for me to arrange my thoughts and see the bigger picture. I like having that big idea and outline of how my notes should be. This is basically how I do mine.

After the topic , I have this little web of Objectives that I’d like to achieve at the end of the lesson. Then, I would go through my handbook for the core ideas. There is an imaginary column at the right side of the page for additional points I gathered either from lectures, textbooks and other resources. This semester, the focus is on Social Psychology. I bought a textbook from Shopee after ‘researching’ on the recommended ones by students majoring in psychology overseas. There were plenty of good reviews for Social Psychology by Aronson. I bought the textbook for two reasons.

  • the price of the textbook was within my budget. It costs me less than RM100
  • I am considering Social Psychology as one of my topic of interest, as a final year project. So, having a reliable resource seems a good idea.

My initial notes usually don’t have colours. They’re just plain B&W. I only start to fill in the shades or beautify the arrows once I’ve sat in the e-lecture. Therefore, I make it a Must-Do thing before I attend my E-tutorials. In a way, I wouldn’t be entering class with an empty brain with no concept at all. So far, this method serves me well.

Sometimes, if there are too many words or there’s a nice diagram in the module, I would just print it out on recycled paper and paste it in my notes. I guess the anatomy of my notes is a mix and match of everything.

I try to complete at least 1 or 2 topics per week for each subject because I want more time to complete my assignments and do revision afterwards. The study schedule is ON POINT to date. Thank goodness for my Kokuyo Weekly Campus Planner and my MegaWeeks Hobonichi.

This method of taking notes is not suitable for every subject though. For instance my Community Service subject. I ended up printing the whole module instead of writing up the notes. Reason being, the module is a short one plus it could be useful for future non academic activities. Anyway, as I have said earlier there is no one way of writing your notes. So, just do you 🙂

Nasi Goreng and Functional Fixedness

My husband prepared Nasi Goreng (fried rice) for breakfast on the 3rd day of Eid. It was a delicious, palatable dish. My kids and I enjoyed it very much but I had to refrain myself from rolling my eyes at the sight of how he prepared the dish.

Fried rice is technically best prepared in a pan or a wok. It’s a pleasant sight to see the rice being fried along with the protein and vegetables on top of the raging flame. Hence, it was to my dismay to see my husband prepared it in a sauce pan. He is not entirely wrong but it does come across as an eyesore because the frying pan was in the cabinet just above him. But he chose the pot because it was already on the stove. I had just cleaned it last night and left it to air dry.

That morning I had to overcome Functional Fixedness.

Functional Fixedness in Psychology is a form of cognitive bias upon solving a problem where one is limited to a traditional way of addressing the matter. This prevents a person to be holistic and look for novelty or creative ways in settling an issue. It can be daunting when you are trying to work through a problem as a team and some members refuse to delve into something new because they cannot see past ‘biasanyer kita buat mcm ni’. In a way, they are also trapped in a Confirmation Bias because they would only listen to those who supports their initial idea.

Once, my Emergency Physician got so pissed off with people telling her ‘the normal way of doing things’ that she doesn’t want to hear us say, ‘selalunya’ or ‘sebelum ni’. We had to support our clinical decisions with evidence and facts. Not because someone did it before and it worked. Functional Fixedness is not a negative connotation altogether. Re-using the same solution to solve a similar problem is commendable because it saves time and we know it works. It’s in cases where it doesn’t work, that we have to think outside the box.

In my simple case, my concept of making nasi goreng is limited to just using the wok to cook it whereas I could use a pot if I wanted to. At the end of the day, I will still have the same nasi goreng to eat. In a way it taught me that there is no one way to fry rice, boil soup or cook maggi mee. We must learn to be resourceful and adaptive to our surroundings to survive.