Attitude Formation and Attitude Change: A Social Psychological Perspective

Attitude Formation and Attitude Change: A Social Psychological Perspective

Supriya Srivastava (Shoolini University, India) and Kuldeep Chand Rojhe (Shoolini University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6960-3.ch001
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Abstract

The study of attitudes formation and attitude change are two defining features at the core of social psychology. An attitude is a set of beliefs that people hold in relation to an attitude object, where an attitude object is a person, a product, or a social group. Since attitudes have been a strong influence on human behavior, social psychologists have viewed attitudes as important to understand behavior of individuals. Firstly, the chapter will introduce the concept of attitude with social psychological perspective. Attitude formation is important to understand to know why people hold different attitudes and how attitudes help to predict their behavior. In the second section, distinct ways of attitudes formation are discussed. It is also important to understand how attitudes influence in decision making, which is also discussed in the next section of the chapter. In the later section, changing processes of attitudes have been discussed.
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Introduction

Social psychology is a branch of psychology which investigates how the behavior of individuals is affected by others and the social environment. In our everyday life we like something and dislike others. For instance, some people like ethnic wear and some others prefer western wear and they demand accordingly. In daily life people have some impressions about persons they meet and assign causes to their behavior accordingly. In social psychology it is said that we possess a positive attitude towards something and negative attitudes towards some others. Understanding the differences why people like and dislike or have different opinion towards different things and uncovering the reasons behind has been one of the interesting topics in social psychology.

Allport (1935) asserted that the attitude concept is the most distinctive and indispensable concept in social psychology. That statement remains equally valid today; the study of attitudes remains at the forefront of social psychological research and theory. Research on attitudes provides an aperture into the conceptual system. It supplies insights on complexities of human social behavior and suggests how actions are affected by beliefs and vice versa. The present chapter has been designed to introduce attitude concepts in detail. The first section provides the best conceptualization of attitudes and its different components. The second section has delivered the structure of attitude and how different attitudes are formed. The third section discusses attitudes measurement, and the next section relationship between attitude and behavior has been explained, the processes of attitude change and how it affects individual’s behavior has been discussed in the fifth section. Finally, the chapter reviewed some studies conducted by researchers that have addressed the relationship between attitude change and behavior: how changing attitudes affect the behavior of individuals. In doing so, the aim is to delineate broad themes of this current phase of attitude research by highlighting some studies related to the subject.

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