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Nature of attitude

Most of the socio-psychologists consider the important role of attitude in the determination of social behavior. The common man also believes that persons, things. He has clear attitudes towards groups. Despite being the central and most researched subject of social psychology for a long time, the question of the nature of attitude and its relation with behavior is still not fully resolved. Often, attitude is considered to be such an orientation which is present in a specific form towards any one object or event, but it lacks motivation. Fishbein (1965) while considering the nature of attitudes has said that its central element is Evaluation or Affective element. He associates instinct with action with cognition.


Fishbein and Agen (1975) reconsidering its nature and accepted attitude as “a learned disposition of reacting positively or negatively to an object”.

While describing the nature of attitude, psychologists have often referred to its three main components:

Affective and


has been discussed. The cognitive component expresses thoughts, perceptions and beliefs about the attitude object. The affective element refers to the intensity of evaluation of the target object and the emotional experiences associated with it. The practical component expresses the tendency to behave in a particular way towards the object. These three components are interrelated and organized. As discussed further, the interrelationship of these components helps in maintaining and changing the importance and influence of attitude. Generally, harmony is established between these three, but the change in any one element is not limited to that element but spreads to other components.


To understand attitude, it is necessary to separate it from other similar concepts. Attitude is not motivational even though it is associated with an affective state because it cannot motivate (Mohsin, 1976). Attitude is also not a value because it is related to a particular stimulus whereas values ​​are associated with different types of stimuli; and are relatively more extensive. Attitude is also different from Opinion. There is evaluation in opinion, but there is no relation with emotion and behavior. Modern societies accept psychological attitude as a relatively permanent assessment. How do these attitudes affect behavior? This is an important question.




Attitude and behavior

What is the relationship between attitude and behavior? Can one’s behavior be predicted by knowing his attitude? Many types of studies have been done by social psychologists regarding these questions. Before discussing the results of these studies, if we know the reaction of an ordinary person, it would be that “attitude can accurately predict behavior.” This also seems natural. But the results of studies done in this area are startling. Vicker (1969) after analyzing the available studies concluded that it is not possible to predict behavior on the basis of attitude. Its relation to behavior is very poor. As a result, the usefulness of the concept of attitude has become doubtful in the minds of many psychologists. This situation has drawn our attention to the reasons due to which the relationship between attitude and behavior is found to be ambiguous. Difficulties in measuring attitudes and behavior and that behavior is influenced by variables other than attitudes are believed to be responsible for this situation. In addition to these, the researchers drew attention to the following grounds:


(a) Specificity of attitude:

Aajin and Fishbein (1977) while analyzing the relationship between attitude and behavior have drawn attention to the correspondence between these two. Most studies of attitudes study global attitudes related to general attitudes such as religion, political issues, groups etc. whereas behavior is always specific. Anyway, if we analyze our own behavior, we will come to the same conclusion that apart from attitude, there are many such reasons, which decide whether a behavior occurs or not. Aajin found that broad measures of attitude were not related to specific behaviors but were able to predict broader behaviours. A measure can be made on the basis of the behavior to be done in different situations. Ajin and Fishbein also found that when the hyperspecific attitude was measured, it had a positive relationship with behavior.


(b) Attitude strength and accessibility:

Often it has been found that strong attitudes can be due to direct experience and vested interests. Along with that, it is also necessary to be available for the activation of the attitude. Since strong attitudes are easily and quickly present in our brains, they have a significant effect on our behavior (Powell and Fazio, 1984). Even if the availability of attitude is high, then similar attitudes also become successful in influencing our behavior.


(C) Self-Attention:

Self-consciousness intensifies the relationship of attitude-behavior. Self-consciousness here means being aware of oneself. Perhaps it is only because of being aware of oneself that the attitudes of the person become available to the person. In this way, they remind the person of their attitude (Wilson et al., 1984). It is clear from the above discussion that by changing experience, attention and cognition, the coordination of attitude and behavior can be increased. Aajin and Fishbein (19801), considering the above elements, have said that behavior basically depends on the desire or intention to perform a specific behavior associated with the target object of the attitude. The desire of the individual to engage in an action Depends on two elements: Attitude towards that particular behavior and Perceived social pressure to perform that behavior which has been termed as Subjective norms. This principle can be presented as follows. Attitude Towards Work Attitude Willingness To Behavior Subjective Norm


Attitude Formation


In his daily life, a person comes in contact with such persons and things, both present and absent, from childhood, which provide opportunities and motivate for the formation of attitudes. As an integral part of the process of socialization, a person acquires appropriate attitudes in the contact of his family members, friends, teachers and means of communication. The attitudes which are formed in the beginning undergo changes and the process of formation of attitude goes on continuously. How are attitudes formed? this | The question has been considered from several perspectives. There are two main points to these theoretical explanations. Can be placed in categories: Learning and reinforcement and Cognitive approaches.


learning and reinforcement approach

The formation of attitudes on the basis of learning has been explained on the basis of three main processes.

on has been done. These are the processes:


Classical Conditioning,

Instrumental conditioning and observational learning. (a) Ancient contract: States (1975) propounded the idea of ​​contract of attitude according to the process of ancient contract propounded by Pavlav.



(b) Theory of Cognitive Dissonance:

This theory was developed by Leon Festiger (1957). This theory holds that when one has two cognitions that are at odds with each other, one will experience cognitive dissonance. For example – if a person smokes a cigarette; And it also knows that smoking cigarettes causes cancer, so these two cognitions are at odds with each other; And because of these, one will experience dissatisfaction. Psychological stress arises in the person as a result of dissatisfaction, which motivates the person to reduce the dissatisfaction. Visannadita can be reduced in a number of ways: one can change one of the two cognitions; may change the importance of cognitions; He may consider new components as connected or both cognitions as mutually unrelated. There are many changes in the behavior of a person as a result of dissatisfaction. Accordingly, there is also a change in attitude.


Festiger and Carlsmith (1959) in their famous study showed how individuals are motivated to change their attitudes on the basis of dissonance. In this study a group of subjects were asked to do very boring, meaningless and unimportant tasks. When the experiment was about to end after a certain amount of work and the applications were about to leave, the experimenter said to the users “We need your help.”

Your job is to tell those who are coming up now, that the experiment you have worked on is very interesting, fascinating and fun. “Half of the users were told that you will be given 20 dollars for doing this work. The other half of the users were announced to give 1 dollar. If we look at this situation, it becomes clear that the person is in a state of delirium. He has realized that practical work is absurd, but on the contrary, he has to prove that the work was very attractive. Here a reward is also being given for this work. And what less?

On the other hand, when a person is being rewarded low, there does not seem to be a proper reason and there will be high derision. Now the question arises that how will one remove the dissatisfaction? Since a person has declared a bad deed to be good, it is not easy to change it. But a change can be brought in the earlier cognition. There is a possibility of change in the attitude of the person as a result of dissatisfaction. According to Festiger, the stronger the dissatisfaction, the more powerful will be the effort to remove it. In the above example, as has been said, there will be more dissatisfaction in the one dollar position and consequently the change in attitude will also be greater. Similar results were obtained for the experiment. But keeping in mind the principle of learning and rewards, this does not seem right. According to him there should have been more change in the status of the higher award ( $ 20 ) but it did not happen .


Bem (1967) has explained the above results on the basis of self-perception. The difficulty of Festiger’s theory is that dissonance occurs only when conflicting cognitions are brought to the fore because the individual is responsible for them. This theory has particularly influenced the research of socio-psychology. Modern studies are also interested in knowing the physical correlates of Visannadita. –


Other factors affecting attitude formation:

The development of attitudes of an individual is influenced by many characteristics of the individual and his environment. Among these factors, need-fulfillment, role-playing, personality and group membership etc. are particularly important. It would be appropriate to consider them briefly. NS


(a) Need fulfillment:

If the reinforcement principle is taken into account, then it becomes clear that a person is ready to do those things which in one way or the other satisfy his need. Considering this, Katz and others (1963) said that attitudes affect the individual in four ways. Helpful in fulfillment of need – First of all they can be useful for us in instrumental form, like – A special kind of political attitude can give us position and prestige. Second: Some attitudes do the work of protecting the ego in a person. Such are our prejudices. Third: Attitudes connect and harmonize the cognitions of the person. Thus attitudes have a functional importance in the life of an individual which provides the basis to acquire them.


(B) Information and Attention:

The formation of attitudes depends on the information already received by the person about the attitude object and also on the nature and intensity of the new information. If the information or message attracts the attention of the person, then its effect is less.



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