Attitudes (pg 153-171)
The Nature and Origin of Attitudes
•Attitude: an evaluation of a person, object or idea. They consist of
negative or positive reaction to something. It is made up of 3 components
oAn affective component, consisting of emotional reactions
toward the attitude object (e.g another person or a social issue)
oA cognitive component, consisting of thoughts and beliefs about
the attitude object, and
oA behavioural component, consisting of actions or observable
behaviour toward the attitude object.
Where do attitudes come from?
•Affectively based attitudes:
oAffectively based attitudes: an attitude based primarily on
people's emotions and feelings about the attitude object.
oThey have certain key features in common:
•They do not result from a rational examination of the
•They are not governed by logic (e.g persuasive arguments
about the issues seldom change an affectively based attitude); and
•They are often linked to people's values so that trying to
change them challenges those values.
•Cognitively based attitudes:
oCognitively based attitudes: an attitude based primarily on a
person's beliefs about the properties of an attitude object.
oThe purpose of this attitude is to classify the pluses and the
minuses of an object so we can quickly tell whether it is worth our while
to have anything to do with it.
•Behaviourally based attitudes:
oBehaviourally based attitudes: an attitude based primarily
on observations of how one behaves toward an attitude object.
•Comparing affective, cognitive, and behavioural bases of attitude:
oWhen attitudes are negative toward particular groups, they are
often cognitively based.
oAttitudes toward social groups were more positive; these
attitudes were more likely to be based on affect - how the participants felt
about these groups
oDifferent attitudes have different bases.
Explicit vs. Implicit Attitudes
•Explicit attitudes: attitudes that we consciously endorse, and can
easily report. (what is your opinion on imposing carbon taxes?)
•Implicit attitudes: attitudes that are involuntary, uncontrollable, and
at times unconscious.
When Will Attitudes Predict Behaviour
•People's attitudes are poor predictors of their behaviour.