Define the concept of an attitude and explain why it is of such interest to society psychologists.Review the variables that determine perspective strength.Outline the determinants that affect the strength of the attitude-behavior relationship.

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Although we might use the hatchet in a different means in our daily life (e.g., “Hey, he’s really got an attitude!”), society psychologists to make reservation the ax attitude to refer to our relatively enduring testimonial of something, where the something is referred to as the perspective object. The attitude object can be a person, a product, or a social team (Albarracín, Johnson, & Zanna, 2005; Wood, 2000). In this section, we will take into consideration the nature and strength that attitudes and the problems under which mindsets best predict our behaviors.

Attitudes space Evaluations

When we say that attitudes are evaluations, we average that they involve a preference for or versus the perspective object, as typically expressed in state such as prefer, like, dislike, hate, and also love. As soon as we express ours attitudes—for instance, as soon as we say, “I like swimming,” “I dislike snakes,” or “I love my parents” —we are expressing the connection (either hopeful or negative) between the self and an perspective object. Explanation such together these make it clean that attitudes are an essential part the the self-concept.

Every human being holds thousands of attitudes, consisting of those around family and friends, politics figures, abortion rights, terrorism, preferences for music, and also much more. Each of our mindsets has the own unique characteristics, and no two mindsets come to united state or influence us in quite the same way. Research has uncovered that some of our mindsets are inherited, at the very least in part, via genetic transmission native our parents (Olson, Vernon, Harris, & Jang, 2001). Other perspectives are learned mainly through direct and also indirect experiences with the mindset objects (De Houwer, Thomas, & Baeyens, 2001). We might like to ride roller coasters in component because our genetic code has offered us a thrill-loving personality and also in component because we’ve had some really good times on roller coasters in the past. Tho other attitudes are learned via the media (Hargreaves & Tiggemann, 2003; Levina, Waldo, & Fitzgerald, 2000) or with our interactions with friends (Poteat, 2007). Some of our mindsets are mutual by rather (most the us favor sugar, are afraid snakes, and also are disgusted by cockroaches), whereas other attitudes—such as our choices for various styles the music or art—are more individualized.

Table 4.1, “Heritability of part Attitudes,” shows some the the attitudes that have actually been discovered to be the most highly heritable (i.e., most strongly determined by genetic variation among people). These attitudes form earlier and also are more powerful and much more resistant to change than others (Bourgeois, 2002), although that is not yet known why some mindsets are much more genetically figured out than are others.

Table 4.1 Heritability of part Attitudes

AttitudeHeritabilityRanked from most heritable to the very least heritable. Data are from Olson, Vernon, Harris, and Jang (2001). Olson, J. M., Vernon, P. A., Harris, J. A., Harris, J.A., & Jang, K. L. (2001). The heritability of attitudes: A examine of twins. Journal the Personality and Social Psychology, 80(6), 845–860.
Abortion ~ above demand0.54
Roller coaster rides0.52
Death penalty because that murder0.5
Organized religion0.45
Doing athletic activities0.44
Voluntary euthanasia0.44
Capitalism0.39
Playing chess0.38
Reading books0.37
Exercising0.36
Education0.32
Big parties0.32
Smoking0.31
Being the facility of attention0.28
Getting along well with various other people0.28
Wearing garments that draw attention0.24
Sweets0.22
Public speaking0.2
Castration together punishment for sex crimes0.17
Loud music0.11
Looking my finest at every times0.1
Doing crossword puzzle puzzles0.02
Separate roles for men and women0
Making racial discrimination illegal0
Playing organized sports0
Easy access to bear control0
Being the leader the groups0
Being assertive0

Our mindsets are consisted of of cognitive, affective, and also behavioral components. Consider an environmentalist’s attitude toward recycling, i beg your pardon is probably very positive:

In regards to affect: They feel happy when they recycle.In terms of behavior: They regularly recycle your bottles and also cans.In regards to cognition: lock believe recycling is the responsible thing to do.

Although most perspectives are established by affect, behavior, and cognition, over there is nevertheless variability in this regard across people and across attitudes. Some mindsets are much more likely to be based upon feelings, some are an ext likely to be based on behaviors, and also some are more likely come be based on beliefs. For example, your attitude toward chocolate ice cream is probably established in big part by affect—although you can describe its taste, largely you may as with it. Your attitude toward your toothbrush, ~ above the other hand, is probably more cognitive (you understand the prominence of its function). Still other of your attitudes might be based much more on behavior. Because that example, your perspective toward note-taking throughout lectures probably depends, at least in part, on whether or not you regularly take notes.

Different human being may hold attitudes toward the same mindset object for various reasons. Because that example, some world vote because that politicians because they choose their policies, conversely, others poll for (or against) politicians because they similar to (or dislike) their public persona. Return you can think the cognition would be an ext important in this regard, political scientists have shown that numerous voting decisions room made mostly on the communication of affect. Indeed, the is same to say that the affective ingredient of attitudes is usually the strongest and most crucial (Abelson, Kinder, Peters, & Fiske, 1981; Stangor, Sullivan, & Ford, 1991).

Human us hold attitudes because they space useful. Particularly, our attitudes permit us to determine, often an extremely quickly and effortlessly, which behaviors to connect in, which human being to technique or avoid, and even which products to buy (Duckworth, Bargh, Garcia, & Chaiken, 2002; Maio & Olson, 2000). You deserve to imagine the making quick decisions about what to protect against or approach has had comprehensive value in our evolution experience. For example:

Snake = poor ⟶ operation awayBlueberries = great ⟶ eat

Because attitudes are evaluations, they can be assessed using any kind of of the regular measuring methods used by society psychologists (Banaji & Heiphetz, 2010). Attitudes are generally assessed utilizing self-report measures, but they can also be assessed an ext indirectly using measures of arousal and facial expression (Mendes, 2008) as well as implicit actions of cognition, such together the latent Association check (IAT). Attitudes can additionally be seen in the brain by using neuroimaging techniques. This research has found that our attitudes, like many of our social knowledge, room stored primarily in the prefrontal cortex however that the amygdala is necessary in emotional attitudes, an especially those associated with are afraid (Cunningham, Raye, & Johnson, 2004; Cunningham & Zelazo, 2007; van den Bos, McClure, Harris, Fiske, & Cohen, 2007). Attitudes deserve to be activated exceptionally quickly—often within one-fifth the a 2nd after we check out an perspective object (Handy, Smilek, Geiger, Liu, & Schooler, 2010).

Some attitudes Are stronger Than Others

Some attitudes are an ext important than others due to the fact that they are more useful to us and thus have much more impact top top our daily lives. The prominence of one attitude, as assessed by how conveniently it pertains to mind, is well-known as attitude strength (Fazio, 1990; Fazio, 1995; Krosnick & Petty, 1995). Some of our perspectives are strong attitudes, in the sense that we discover them important, organize them v confidence, do not change them very much, and also use them frequently to overview our actions. These strong attitudes may guide our actions fully out of ours awareness (Ferguson, Bargh, & Nayak, 2005).

Other attitudes are weaker and also have small influence on our actions. Because that instance, man Bargh and his partner (Bargh, Chaiken, Raymond, & Hymes, 1996) found that people could express attitudes toward nonsense words such as juvalamu (which people liked) and also chakaka (which they did not like). The researchers additionally found that these attitudes were very weak.

Strong perspectives are more cognitively accessible—they come to mind quickly, regularly, and easily. We can quickly measure mindset strength by assessing how quickly our mindsets are activated as soon as we room exposed to the perspective object. If we can state our mindset quickly, without lot thought, climate it is a strong one. If we are unsure around our attitude and need to think about it because that a while prior to stating ours opinion, the perspective is weak.

Attitudes become stronger as soon as we have straight positive or an adverse experiences v the mindset object, and particularly if those experiences have been in strong positive or an unfavorable contexts. Russell Fazio and also his colleagues (Fazio, Powell, & Herr, 1983) had human being either occupational on part puzzles or watch other human being work on the same puzzles. Return the human being who watched finished up one of two people liking or disliking the puzzles as lot as the people who actually functioned on them, Fazio found that attitudes, together assessed by reaction time measures, were more powerful (in the sense of being expressed quickly) because that the people who had directly experienced the puzzles.

Because perspective strength is identified by cognitive accessibility, the is feasible to make perspectives stronger by raising the accessibility of the attitude. This have the right to be done directly by having human being think about, express, or comment on their mindsets with others. After people think about their attitudes, talk about them, or just say them out loud, the mindsets they have expressed end up being stronger (Downing, Judd, & Brauer, 1992; Tesser, Martin, & Mendolia, 1995). Because attitudes are linked to the self-concept, they also become stronger when they are activated together with the self-concept. When we room looking right into a mirror or sit in former of a TV camera, our perspectives are activated and also we are then more likely to act on castle (Beaman, Klentz, Diener, & Svanum, 1979).

Attitudes are likewise stronger as soon as the ABCs that affect, behavior, and also cognition every align. As an example, plenty of people’s mindset toward your own nation is universally positive. Lock have strong positive feelings around their country, numerous positive thoughts around it, and tend to connect in behaviors that support it. Other mindsets are less solid because the affective, cognitive, and behavioral contents are every somewhat various (Thompson, Zanna, & Griffin, 1995). Your cognitions toward physical exercise may be positive—you think that continual physical activity is good for your health. On the other hand, your impact may be negative—you may resist exercising since you favor to communicate in jobs that provide much more immediate rewards. Consequently, you might not exercise as regularly as friend believe you candlestick to. This inconsistencies among the materials of your attitude do it less strong than it would certainly be if every the contents lined increase together.

When execute Our perspectives Guide our Behavior?

Social psychologists (as well as advertisers, marketers, and also politicians) are particularly interested in the behavioral element of attitudes. Due to the fact that it is typical that the ABCs of our perspectives are at the very least somewhat consistent, our habits tends to monitor from our influence and cognition. If I determine that friend have much more positive cognitions about and much more positive impact toward waffles than French toast, then ns will naturally predict (and most likely be correct once I perform so) the you’ll be more likely to order waffles 보다 French toast as soon as you eat breakfast at a restaurant. Furthermore, if I can do something to make her thoughts or feelings toward French toast more positive, then her likelihood of bespeak it for breakfast will likewise increase.

The principle of mindset consistency (that for any kind of given attitude object, the ABCs of affect, behavior, and cognition are normally in line with each other) therefore predicts the our mindsets (for instance, together measured via a self-report measure) are likely to guide behavior. Sustaining this idea, meta-analyses have found that there is a far-reaching and substantial positive correlation among the different components of attitudes, and that mindsets expressed top top self-report procedures do predict habits (Glasman & Albarracín, 2006).

However, our attitudes are no the only factor that affect our decision come act. The theory of planned behavior, emerged by boy name Fishbein and also Izek Ajzen (Ajzen, 1991; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), outlines three vital variables that affect the attitude-behavior relationship: (a) the attitude towards the action (the more powerful the better), (b) subjective norms (the assistance of those us value), and also (c) perceived behavior control (the degree to which we believe we can actually carry out the behavior). This three components jointly predict our intention to carry out the behavior, which consequently predicts our actual behavior (Figure 4.2, “Theory of plan Behavior”).

To illustrate, imagine for a moment that your friend Sharina is make the efforts to decision whether come recycle her used laptop battery or simply throw them away. We know that her attitude toward recycling is positive—she think she need to do it—but we additionally know that recycling bring away work. That much simpler to just throw the battery away. But if Sharina feel strongly around the prestige of recycling, if her family and also friends are also in donate of recycling, and if she has actually easy accessibility to a battery recycling facility, then she will construct a strong intention to execute the behavior and likely follow through on it.

Since it was very first proposed, the theory of planned behavior has grown to become very influential design for predicting person social behavior. However, back it has been supplied to examine virtually every type of to plan behavior, a recent meta-analysis of 206 articles found the this version was especially reliable at predicting physical activity and diet behaviors (McEachan, Conner, Taylor, & Lawton, 2011).

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Figure 4.2 theory of planned Behavior, adjusted by Hilda Aggregani under CC BY.

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More generally, research has likewise discovered that attitudes predict actions well only under details conditions and also for some people. This include:

When the attitude and also the actions both happen in similar social situationsWhen the same components of the perspective (either impact or cognition) are accessible when the mindset is assessed and when the actions is performedWhen the perspectives are measured in ~ a specific, quite than a general, levelFor short self-monitors (rather than for high self-monitors)

The degree of the match between the social instances in which the attitudes are expressed and the actions are engaged in is important; there is a better attitude-behavior correlation when the social situations match. Imagine because that a minute the case of Magritte, a 16-year-old high institution student. Magritte tells her parents the she hates the idea of smoking cigarettes cigarettes. Magritte’s negative attitude toward smoking appears to be a strong one due to the fact that she’s believed a lot around it—she believes the cigarettes space dirty, expensive, and unhealthy. But how sure room you that Magritte’s attitude will predict her behavior? would certainly you be ready to bet that she’d never try smoking once she’s out v her friends?

You have the right to see the the trouble here is that Magritte’s mindset is being expressed in one social situation (when she is with her parents), whereas the behavior (trying a cigarette) is going to occur in a an extremely different social case (when she is out v her friends). The appropriate social standards are of course much different in the two situations. Magritte’s friends might have the ability to convince her to try smoking, in spite of her initial an unfavorable attitude, when they entice her v peer pressure. Behaviors are an ext likely come be consistent with mindsets when the social situation in i beg your pardon the behavior occurs is comparable to the instance in i m sorry the attitude is expressed (Ajzen, 1991; LaPiere, 1936).