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
o An affective component, consisting of emotional reactions toward
the attitude object (e.g another person or a social issue)
A cognitive component, consisting of thoughts and beliefs about
the attitude object, and
o A behavioural component, consisting of actions or observable
behaviour toward the attitude object.
Where do attitudes come from?
• Affectively based attitudes:
o Affectively based attitudes: an attitude based primarily on
people's emotions and feelings about the attitude object.
o They 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:
o Cognitively based attitudes: an attitude based primarily on a
person's beliefs about the properties of an attitude object.
o The 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:
o Behaviourally based attitudes: an attitude based primarily on
observations of how one behaves toward an attitude object.
• Comparing affective, cognitive, and behavioural bases of attitude:
When attitudes are negative toward particular groups, they are
often cognitively based.
o Attitudes toward social groups were more positive; these
attitudes were more likely to be based on affect - how the participants felt
about these groups
o Different 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. The Theory of Planned Behaviour
• Theory of planned behaviour: a theory that the best predictor of a
person's planned, deliberate behaviours are the person's attitudes toward
specific behaviours, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control.
• Specific attitude:
o A general question does not predict behaviour, however the more
specific a question is the better this attitude predicted actual behaviour.
• Subjective Norms:
Their beliefs about how the people they care about will view the
behaviour in question.
• Perceived Behavioural Control:
o People's intentions are influenced by perceived behavioural
control, which is the ease with which people believe they can perform the
The Theory of Planned Behaviour: Implications for Safer Sex
• Subjective norm:
o There is evidence that whether university students use condoms
depends on the norms for sexual behaviour that operate among their
o Our beliefs about how our sexual partner feels about condom use
is another example of a subjective norm. Therefore if we anticipate a
negative reaction from our partner, we are less likely to use condoms,.
• Perceived behavioural control:
o Those who were embarrassed about buying condoms bought
them less often than did those who were not embarrassed.
o It was found that people can feel awkward about bringing up the
topic of condoms during a sexual encounter.
o Therefore, if it is more difficult to perform the behaviours, the less
likely you are to actually use them
• Behavioural intentions:
o What factors might affect people's intentions to use condoms?