Attitudes logically are hypothetical constructs (i.e., they are inferred but not objectivelyobservable), they are manifested in conscious experience, verbal reports, overt behavior, andphysiological indicators.In academic psychology parlance, attitudes are positive or negativeviews of an "attitude object": a person, behavior, or event. Research has shown that people canalso be "ambivalent" towards a target, meaning that they simultaneously possess a positive anda negative attitude towards it. The quality of ones attitudes is judged from the observable,evaluative responses that are made. Attitudes are sometimes regarded as underlyingpredispositions, attitudes equates with unconscious and irrational tendencies.
Attitudes have three main components: cognitive, affective, and behavioral. The cognitivecomponent concerns one's beliefs; the affective component involves feelings and evaluations;and the behavioral component consists of ways of acting toward the attitude object. Thecognitive aspects of attitude are generally measured by surveys, interviews, and other reportingmethods, while the affective components are more easily accessed by monitoring physiologicalsigns such as heart rate. Behavior, on the other hand, may be assessed by direct observation.
Unlike personality, attitudes are expected to change as a function of experience, and there arenumerous theories of attitude formation and attitude change. The study of attitude changethat is, the processes by which people acquire new attitudeshas been a major focus of socialpsychological research since the mid-20th century, and work in this field has led to theoreticaldevelopments.
ognitive dissonance theory,
Cognitive dissonance theory
There are many occasions in everyday life when we feel compelled to say or do thingsinconsistent with our true attitude, e.g. your friend shows you her new shirt and askshow you like it. You really hate the color, but you dont say that. Instead you say nicereally nice.The reason for behaving in these polite but slightly dishonest- ways is so obvious thatsocial psychologists describe such situation as involving induced compliance- situation inwhich we feel compelled to say or do things inconsistent with our true attitude. Whenwe behave in this way- when we engage in attitude discrepant behavior- this maysometimes produce changes in the attitude we hold. In fact, our attitude may shifttoward what we felt compelled to do or say, thus reducing the size of the gap betweenour true attitude and our overt actions.