Chapter 5/6 Von Der Haar
Chapter 5/6 Von Der Haar
Attitude is generally an acquired tendency to act in a definite way towards particular objects. The tendency is usually psychological that drives an individual to evaluate an entity with some degree of like or dislike. Studies show that attitudes are composed of three different components emotional component, cognitive component and behavioral component. They can also be implicit or explicit. Implicit are unconscious attributes that still influence our behavior and beliefs, while explicit attributes are the ones we are aware of, and which influence our beliefs and behaviors. However, they develop out of experience.
Attitudes can be changed by repeated exposure, “good feeling” associations and endorsements. They can be measured by the following methods. One of the early methods was the Bogardus Social Distance Scale used mainly in gauging the attitudes towards racial or ethnic groups. It is based on the premise that an individual is more reluctant to interact with members of a group he has negative attitudes. Other methods for measuring attitudes are Thurstone method, Lukert method, Guttman scaling and the semantic differential scaling.
Attributes on the other hand is an inherent character ascribed to an individual. They usually change depending whether an individual is the actor or observer in a situation. It can be defined as our attempt to constantly justify our actions or the behavior of others. The attribution theory consists of two explanations to explain behaviors. The situational attribution claims that the cause of our behavior is the environment while the dispositional attribution claims that the cause to our behavior is the motive to our actions.
They usually vary on a fluid-stable continuum. Fluid attributes vary on hourly basis, for instance moods. This scenario dictates that moods are not good predictions of our future behavior in a particular scenario. Stable attributes are necessary for deciding on long term predictions.
Behavior can be described as an observable feature over an action that an individual or community makes in response to changes in the environment that it exists. It is a natural reaction of an organism to various environmental stimuli and inputs. In addition, it is a parameter used to measure attitude. This is so because attitudes are psychological tendencies that are not easily observable but manifest themselves in behaviors. Hence, behaviors are generally outcomes of attitudes. The study of attitudes is achieved by inferring on at least some observable behaviors.
Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen developed the theory of reasoned action (TRA) to study behavior and attitude. TRA was born out recognition that that the traditional attitude-behavior research had weak correlations measurements of attitudes and performance of “free will” behaviors. The theory consists of three main constructs: behavioral intention (BI), attitude (A), and subjective norm (SN). It postulates that a persons behavioral motive is directly related to the persons attitude to the behavior and subjective norms (BI= A+SN). The behavioral intention measures the ability of an individual to carry out a given behavior. Hence, attitudes consist of beliefs related to repercussions of carrying out a behavior multiplied by his/her valuation of the consequences. In addition, a person’s attitude merged with his subjective beliefs forms his behavioral intention
The theory can be summarized as; beliefs about the behavior and evaluation of the behavior constitute to form the attitude about the behavior, while opinions of others and our personal motivation form the subjective norm. Our attitude about the behavior and the subjective norm gives us the intent that leads to a behavior. However, it has the following limitations in that it uses motive to predict behavior and the use of attitudes and subjective beliefs to formulate intentions.