Attitude - Content, Structure and Function of Attitude Concept of Attitude Attitude is part of social Psychology. Social psychology is a specific branch in psychology which tries to understand and explain how the thoughts, feeling and behaviour of individual influence as well as gets influenced by one another. Attitude is a learned tendency to act, think and feel in particular ways towards a class of people, object, place or an event. It can be
positive, negative, neutral or ambivalent evaluation of stimuli present in our environment. Attitude and Value Cognition (belief) Things we hold to be true. Peripheral Core (strong) (weak) belief belief Emotion Values Attitude Behaviour
VAttitude is related to a particular thing whereas values are general in nature. Eg - If person has a liberal attitude then that is for a particular thing like caste, gender issue, LGBT rights, dressing style etc. But if a person has virtue of liberty then he will be liberal towards everything. Attitude may change with the situation but Values are relatively stable and enduring. However intense incident in life can change value system. Eg: Value change of Ashoka after war of Kalinga, Angulimala, Valmiki, Kalidasa, old lady changed by the compassionate and tolerant attitude of the Prophet etc
VValues are more strong, intense and durable than attitude. Content of Attitude CAB or ABC component of attitude
Human Cognition (belief) Behavior Peripheral Core (strong) (weak) belief Situation Emotion Values Attitude Behavior
Cognition (belief) Behaviour (How we really act) Attitude Emotion Behaviour Situation (Past experience)
Coanitive component The cognitive component of attitude refers to the belief, ideas, thoughts and attributes we associate with an object. Stereotypes are thoughts or beliefs that are adopted about specific types of individual or particular group. They may or may not accurately reflect reality. They form largely due to over generalization or incomplete information. Eg-People from Bihar are good at maths; Bengalis are good in arts; Africans are involved in drugs peddling, human trafficking, low hygiene; Villains in Hollywood are mostly black;
Affective Component Affective component of attitude refers to feelings or emotions linked to an attitude object. A primary way in which emotions shape attitude through feelings that are aroused in response to an attitude object. Prejudice is pre-judgement or forming an opinion before becoming aware of relevant facts of the case. It is largely based on the kind of emotions a person has for the attitude object.
Behavioural component Behavioural component refers to past experiences or behaviour regarding an attitude objects. Discrimination is behaviour of making a distinction in favour or against a person based on the groups, class or category to which that person belongs to. Such distinction doesn't take into account individual merit. It can also be shown against a thing or an idea. Though it can be positive, discrimination in most cases is considered a negative phenomenon as it denies social participation or human rights to the people on the basis of prejudice and stereotypes. Even the positive discrimination in long term can be harmful for the overall wellbeing of a society.
In context of intergroup attitude stereotypes reflects expectations and beliefs about the characteristics of members of group perceived as different from one's own. Prejudice represents the emotional response and discrimination refers to actions. Relationship between CAB Components Components of CAB model have a synergistic relation. When an individual possess positive belief about an attitude object, they typically have positive affective and behaviour association with the object. Thus CAB component are different but they are not completely independent of each other.
Structure of attitude includes how positive and negative evaluation are organised within and among the cognitive affective and behavioural component of attitude. The structure often decides the extent to which an attitude in question can affect the behaviour of an individual. People with integrity are less ambivalent. Functions of Attitude Daniel Karz gave four functions of attitude i. Knowledge function
The utilitarian function exists in attitudes that maximise rewards and minimise punishments obtained from attitude object. If a person holds or expresses socially acceptable attitude, other people will reward them with approval and social acceptance. Eg - politicians show positive attitude towards reservation as in help in getting votes. iii. Ego Defence Ego defence refers to holding an attitude that protects our self- esteem or that justify action that makes us feel guilty. Attitude helps to protect us from ourselves and from other and to
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