Theories Of Attitudes And Behavioural Attitudes
We develop attitudes towards anything we can interact with, ranging from people or social groups, animals, objects, situations or specific behaviors. Defined by Allport as a key concept in social psychology (1935, p.798), attitudes help us deal with everything around us and, ultimately, define us as individuals and social group members.
This essay will cover how attitudes can be and have been defined in time, how they are structured and in what ways they can be measured, with particular focus on the objectivity and reliability of different types of explicit and implicit methods of measurement. It is also argued …show more content…
However, there is criticism focusing on the fact that this model implies a direct and strong link between attitudes and behavioural intentions, while evidence shows that this link is not always strong and direct - when present at all (Zanna and Rempel, 1988).
In the 1960s, a very popular tripartite structure theory was introduced: the ABC (sometimes also referred to as CAB) model (Rosenberg and Hovland, 1960; Kretch, Crutchfield and Ballachey, 1962). According to this model, the attitude is made up of Cognitive, Affective and Behavioural components. The cognitive component includes the beliefs and thoughts associated with the object, including a background knowledge about said object which is stored in memory and can be retrieved when needed.
The affective component refers to the feelings linked to the attitude object, ranging from spontaneous manifestations of emotion to a person’s higher values and moral-driven …show more content…
All explicit methods of measurements are in fact subject to some extent to social desirability bias (Fisher, 1993), as the participants could alter their response to protect their self-image. Sometimes, individuals might not even be fully aware of their attitudes (John Kihlstrom, 2004). Moreover, in questionnaire-like methods, a central tendency bias is often observed (Baron, 1996), meaning that extreme positions tend to be concealed, and even the order in which the items are put could affect the way the participants respond (Schwarz and Strack,