Inthe field of psychology, attitude is defined as a collection ofemotions, beliefs and habits that an individual possesses towards agiven person, object or occurrence. Other psychologists also defineattitudes a cultured inclination to look at things in a specifiedmanner. can be a result of life experiences or familyupbringing patterns. Typically, the attitude has significant controlover a person’s behavior and perception of the things and peoplethey interact with (Owen & Owen, 2012). This paper seeks toexplore diverse aspects of attitudes including its components and howthey are formed and influenced.
are formed in three main ways depending on the influencing factor.These ways of attitude formation are experience, society, andlearning. Life experiences shape how people perceive things aroundthem. In this way, experiences shape attitudes. These experiences canbe personal or other person’s acquired through observation (Fiske,2010). Social roles and social behavior are also seen to influenceattitudes. Social norms stipulate the expectations and standards ofwhat people in a given social setup are supposed to behave. What isappropriate for people in a given society act as the guideline inshaping the attitudes of people in that society. This connectionshows that social factors play a role in forming and influencingattitudes.
Learningis the other factor that influences attitudes. Learning of attitudesoccurs in three main ways. These are classical conditioning, operantconditioning, and observation (Lussier, 2008). Classical conditioninguses attractive and pleasant visual and verbal presentation todevelop a bias towards something, for example in television adverts.Operant conditioning uses rebuke and critics from other people toinvoke attitude change in an individual. Lastly, observation is thethird way of developing attitudes by learning. A good case in pointis how children acquire attitudes by observing and learning from howthey see their parents behave.
Asmentioned earlier on in the paper, society is one the factors thatform and influence the attitudes of individuals and groups. Eachsociety has its code of conduct that stipulates what is wrong orright for its members (Fiske, 2010). Consequently, this social codeof conduct sets the social norms that govern the behavior ofindividuals and groups in that society. Individuals grow up knowingthere are things that they can or cannot do depending on the societythey live in. Societal norms also set behavior standards for groups.Each group is a society for example children, youth or elders havetheir behaviors governed by society. For example, children areexpected to respect all elders, including visitors and strangers.
Attitudehas three main components namely the cognitive, affective andbehavioral components (Owen & Owen, 2012). The cognitivecomponent deals with the thoughts and beliefs that one has about agiven person, object or situation. It stipulates that peopleknowledge and perceptions by combining the direct experience theyhave with the object and all relevant information they have acquiredfrom varied sources. The affective component dwells on feeling. Itfocuses on the reaction that another person, object or occurrenceinvokes in a person. Finally, the behavioral component focuses on theeffect that attitudes have on a person’s behavior. These, in anutshell, are the three components of attitudes.
Persuasion,conformity, and biases are three factors that have influence on thecomponents of attitudes. Persuasion affects the extent to whichindividuals are attracted to given attitudes (Fiske, 2010).Conformity influences that probability that one is likely to changetheir attitudes and adopt one they are persuaded to acquire. Biasesaffect the willingness of an individual to let go of their internalbeliefs to take up new attitudes that are influenced by externalfactors. These three factors have a significant influence on howpeople form and influence their attitudes and those of the peoplearound them.
Fiske,S. T. (2010). Socialbeings: A core motives approach to social psychology.Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley.
Lussier,R. N. (2008). Managementfundamentals: Concepts, applications, skill development.Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning.
Owen,J., & Owen, J. (2012). Howto influence and persuade.