Have you ever thought about What Is Attitude and Behavior?Attitudes are relatively enduring evaluations of particular people, objects, or The Nature of Attitudes issues. Attitudes consist of a cluster of thoughts and feelings about something or someone. Thoughts are the cognitive component of an attitude, and feelings are the effective component. For example, the cognitive component Of Carl’s attitude toward capital punishment might include his belief that capital punishment is immoral and that it does not deter crime.
The effective component of his attitude might include the feelings of sadness and anger that Carl experiences when- ever he hears about an execution. Thoughts and feelings often dispose us to act in a particular way, and these predispositions can be considered the behavioral component of an attitude. The behavioral component of Carl’s attitude might include a willingness to sign petitions to abolish capital punishment and his intention to vote for political candidates who share his views.
What Is Attitude; How To Measure Attitudes With Real Examples
Measuring Attitudes Psychologists have devoted a great deal of attention to methods of measuring attitudes. Most methods ask people direct questions about their views. One technique is to ask open-ended questions, which allow the people being questioned—the respondents—to make any response they wish. A political pollster might ask, “When you think of your governor, what are the first things that come to your mind?” Or a marketing researcher might ask a parent, “Now that you’ve had a chance to use our disposable diapers for a month, how do you feel about them?”
Answers to open-ended questions can provide rich information about people’s attitudes, but they can also be difficult to analyze numerically. Thus, most attitude researchers use fixed-response questions, which ask respondents to select one of a given set of answers. One common approach is to present people with a series of statements and ask how much they agree or disagree with each statement.
Attitudes and Behavior People’s attitudes are often closely related to their behavior. If you love a particular TV show, you will probably try to watch it each week. If you strongly oppose a tuition increase at your school, you will probably act on your attitude by signing petitions or joining student protests. Attitudes serve as guides for actions.
As a result, we can often do a good job of predicting people’s behavior if we know their attitudes. In practice, however, people don’t always act in ways that seem consistent with their attitudes (Johnson, 1991). For example, many of us believe that exercise is important to health, but we don’t manage to make time to exercise regularly. The lack of consistency between attitudes and actions may not be too surprising. After all, attitudes are not the only influences on behavior.
A woman who believes that exercise is worthwhile may be deterred by the psychological costs Of exercise the effort and personal discipline required for regular workouts. Or a man with strong attitudes about abortion may not talk about his views or go to rallies be- cause he fears social disapproval from his friends. Attitudes are only one of many possible causes of behavior. An additional problem in using attitudes to predict behavior is that we often have many attitudes, and they sometimes conflict with one another. Belinda might have a strong positive attitude toward Kevin Costner and a strong negative attitude toward war movies. What will she do if some friends invite her to see a new war movie starring Costner? Which of her relevant attitudes will prevail?
A few people will go to the stake for a single value,” writes Howard Schuman “but history and common sense tell us that most people work out com- promises.” (Belinda will probably go to the movie with her friends and hope it isn’t too gory.) Despite these complexities, on the whole our attitudes do play a powerful role in guiding our behavior. In many domains, from consumers’ decisions about products to voters’ decisions about candidates, knowing a person’s attitudes provides the best possible prediction of the person’s future actions.
That is why political candidates devote so much attention to pre -election polls and why marketing researchers spend so much money assessing consumers’ attitudes about soft drinks and laundry detergents. Attitudes are usually better predictors of a person ‘s general pattern of behavior than of any single action: your attitude about pizza will be a better predictor of how often you order pizza during the year than of whether you eat pizza today. In addition, the specificity of the attitude also makes a difference: how often you eat pizza is more closely linked to your specific atti tude about pizza than to your general attitudes about Italian food. In the Appreciating Our Diversity section, we discuss how attitudes can affect social interactions between disabled and non-disabled people.