Attitudes Social Psychology's Most Indispensable Concept

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Attitudes Social Psychology's Most Indispensable Concept Augoustinos & Walker (1995) claim the attitudes area has been the most researched and heavily invested topic in social psychology. The 1960/70's saw an era of pessimism regarding the attitude-behaviour association. However, by the 80's there was resurgence due to cognitive psychology's impact (Hogg and Vaughan 2002). Attitudes influence perceptions of others and also how we perceive ourselves. Augoustinos & Walker (1995:12) believe attitudes are 'real and tangible, which influence the way that attitude owner behaves'. They are tangible in the sense that attitudes are displayed through specific human behaviours and so can be observed e.g. a lazy attitude shown though someone sleeping a lot. But this does not mean that 'attitude' in itself exists as the question infers, it is a concept/theoretical construct. If G.Allport is correct then, attitudes are the causal stimuli that determine particular behaviour(s). Alike many social psychological concepts there is a definition problem. There are blurred boundaries between scientific and everyday meanings of 'attitude'. Reber and Reber (2001:63) vaguely claim 'an attitude is some internal affective orientation that explains the actions of a person - an intended action'. Hogg and Vaughan (2002) believe it has four components: cognitive (conscious opinion), affective (emotional feeling), evaluative (positive/negative) and behavioural (character for action). It depends on the theoretical approach taken when considering which factor is more important e.g. behaviourists favouring behavioural - based upon observed behaviour whilst cognitiv... ... middle of paper ... ...erbal and Overt Behavioural Responses to Attitude Objects. Journal of Social Issues. 25: 41-78. Sources Utilised ---------------- Ajzen, I. & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Behaviour. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Augoustinos, M. & Walker, I. (1995). Social Cognition: An Integrated Introduction. London: Sage. Eiser, R.J. (1980) Cognitive Social Psychology: A Guidebook To Theory and Research. London: McGraw-Hill Ltd. Hogg, M. T. & Vaughan, G. M. (2002) Social Psychology (3rd Edition). Chapters 5 & 6. London: Prentice Hall. Ibáňez, T. & Ãňiguez, L. (1997) Critical Social Psychology. London: Sage. Reber, A.S. & Reber, E. (2001). The Penguin Dictionary Of Psychology. London: Penguin. Tesser, A. (1995) Advanced Social Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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