Attitudes are one of the oldest and most popular research topics in social psychology.
There are various different definitions of attitudes; Fazio defined them as an association
between a given object and a given evaluation.
Stimulus Attitudes Behavior
(Attitudes act like a moderator between stimulus and behavior)
Attitudes are summary evaluations of attitude objects.
Attitudes have three components: Cognitive (thought), Affective (emotion), and
“The essential feature of attitude is a preparation or readiness for response…not
behaviour, but the precondition of behaviour.” In this statement the precondition of
behaviour refers to the affect and cognitions.
Bias is the pre-condition for discrimination, and bias is caused by stereotypes (cognition)
or prejudice (affect).
Bi-dimensional model states that emotions are derived from a combination of: Arousal &
Cognitions used to explain arousal.
Devine and Lepore- all individuals have knowledge of stereotypes. They exist no matter
what- high or low prejudice.
Attitude = Σ(belief X evaluation)
•Syllogistic model shows the importance of beliefs (cognitions) associated with
•Beliefs are the full set of what is known about the attitude object. Each of these
beliefs has an evaluative component. In understanding our attitudes, we must
consider these structural linkages.
•Unidimensional: Affective or emotional orientation to an object along a single
dimension of favorability or unfavorability
•Bidimensional: Emotions are derived from a combination of: Arousal &
Cognitions used to explain arousal.
•Three dimensional model: Some theories of attitudes assume that attitudes have
three components: a cognitive component, an affective component, a behavioral
•Non-dimensional model: Attitude objects are nodes in an associative network.
Attitudes are associations between an attitude object and a stored evaluation.
More frequently link is activated, the stronger the attitude.
E.g. Canada health care, big, North America, or may activate that all these factors
are positive e.g. Canada +
These networks may vary in complexity
All factors do not necessarily carry the same value- and a state of ambivalence is
possible. 3 +ve and 3 –ve = neutral (ambivalence)
To allow for the possibility of ambivalence and indifference, attitudes might not be best
defined as either good or bad evaluations.
Some evaluations may be good and bad (ambivalence).
Some evaluations may be neither good nor bad (indifference).
• Ambivalence: People recognize positive and negative aspects of an attitude
• Ambivalence can moderate the relation between attitude and behavior.
• High ambivalence : Behavior can be influenced by the positive or the negative
• Low ambivalence: Only positive or negative aspects are activated (consistent).
Consistent attitudes have a stronger effect on behavior than ambivalent attitudes.
•Stronger attitudes will predict behavior better than weaker attitudes
•(1) More accessible
•(2) More central
•(3) More linked to Identity
Moderators of the Relation between Attitudes and Behavior
• Behavior is carried out by an individual in a particular situation
• There are two types of factors that can moderate the relation between attitudes
and behavior, the individual (personality factors) and the situation (situational
The strength of the association between the subject node and the summary evaluation
node determines attitude accessibility.
•If there is a weak association between the subject and the summary evaluation,
then the attitude will not be accessible.
•Hence, it will not influence behavior.
When attitudes are expressed many times, a strong association develops between the
summary evaluation and the attitude object.
•If there is a strong association between the two nodes, then spreading occurs
quickly from one node to the other.
•In this case, the evaluation (or attitude) is very accessible and can influence
•Self-monitoring is a personality variable that may influence behavior (or the
association between attitudes/personality and behavior).