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Chapter 1

Attitudes & Opinions - Chapter 1.docx

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Psychology 3721F/G
Cheung/ Maxwell

Chapter 1Background HistoryConceptsWhy study attitudesLong standing controversy whether to study attitudes or behaviourGoes back to early years of social psych when it was just beginning to be differentiated from other areas of psychology and sociologyBehaviorists following lead of BF Skinner have generally tried to avoid use of mentalistic concepts like attitude and to study observable behaviour instead Majority view among social psychs best expressed by Gordon Allport 1935concept of attitude is probably the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary American social psychThe word attitude is widely used in everyday speech to describe a person or explain behaviourWhy is attitude such a popularuseful concept 6 REASONS 1 attitude is a shorthand term a single attitude eg love for ones family can summarize many different behaviours spending time w them kissing the comforting them etc 2 An attitude can be considered the cause of a persons behaviour toward another person or object3 The concept of attitude helps to explain the consistency of a persons behaviour for a single attitude may underlie many different actions 4 Attitudes are important in their own right regardless of their relation to a persons behaviour your attitudes toward various individuals institutions and social issues reflect the way you perceive the world around you 5 The concept of attitude is relatively neutral and acceptable to many theoretical schools of thought ex Bridges the controversy between heredity and environment6 Attitude is an interdisciplinary concept5 different ways of studying attitudes and opinions have typified most of the research studies in the area little overlap or interaction between the adherents of these 5 approaches 1 Description 2 Measurement 3 Polls4 Theories 5 ExperimentsOriginally the term attitude referred to a persons bodily position or postureComprehensive definitionan attitude is a mental or neural state of readiness organized through experience exerting a directive or dynamic i
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