Top of Page


Links:      •  Module Self Test
                •  Module (Print Ready)
                 •  Module Index

Ψ  Social Psychology
- Attitudes -

          Attitudes are beliefs or opinions that includes an evaluation of some object, person, or event, along a continuum from negative to positive, that predisposes us to act in a certain way toward that object, person, or event.

          Three Components of Attitudes
         1. The cognitive component (thoughts) includes both thoughts & beliefs that are involved in evaluating some object, person, or idea.
         2. The affective component (feelings) involves emotional feelings that can be weak or strong, positive or negative.
         3. The behavioral component (behaviors) involves performing or not performing some behavior.

          Three Functions of Attitudes
         1. Attitudes predispose - they guide or influence us to behave in specific ways.
         2. Attitudes interpret - means that they provide convenient guidelines for interpreting & categorizing objects & events & deciding whether to approach or avoid them.
         3. Attitudes evaluate - means that they help us stand up for those beliefs & values that we consider very important to ourselves

          Two Theories Of Why Attitudes Change:
         1. Cognitive dissonance - refers to a state of unpleasant psychological tension that motivates us to reduce our cognitive inconsistencies by making our beliefs more consistent with each other. We may even take a public position that runs counter to our private attitude (counter attitudinal behavior) & as a result of this mind set adopt the public attitude as our private attitude.
         2. Self-perception theory - we first observe or perceive our own behavior & then, as a result, we change our attitudes to match that behavior.

          Two routes for persuasion:
         1. The Central route presents information with strong arguments, analyses, facts & logic.
         2. The Peripheral route emphasizes emotional appeal, focuses on personal traits, & generates positive feelings.

General Psychology
Robert C. Gates