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I. Nature of Attitudes
Attitude is a learned and relatively enduring tendency or
predisposition to evaluate a person, event, or situation in a
certain way and to act in accordance with that evaluation.
It is a social orientation an underlying inclination to respond
to something either favorably or unfavorably
An attitude is a state of mind towards something, if we wish
to influence other peoples behavior, one way is to influence
the state of mind.
I. Nature of Attitudes
Gordon Allport referred attitude as the most
indispensable concept in social psychology.
an attitude is a mental and neural state of readiness,
organized through experience, exerting a directive or
dynamic influence upon the individuals response to all
objects and situations with which it is related (Allport,
II. Components of Attitude
ABC Model of Attitude
Affective Component includes the feelings or emotions, gut
reactions towards something or someone that is evoked
within an individual
Behavioral Component is the tendency or disposition to act
in certain ways with reference to an object, event or
Cognitive is the way we perceive an object, event or
situation through our thoughts, beliefs and ideas.
Components and its Manifestations
Component Consistency

The three components of an attitude (affective,

behavioral and cognitive) have a tendency to be
A change in one component will have a flow-on
effect on the other components.
Attitude Component Consistency
Exercise: Identify which one utilizes affective,
behavioral and cognitive component

1. I love yoga because I get to do meditation and I

believe that it helps me relax so I will go to class
each week.
2. My supervisor is unfair.
3. I am angry of how little Im paid.
4. I am going to look for another job that pays better.
III. Functions of Attitudes

Daniel Katz has advanced a functionalist

theory of attitudes. He takes the view that our
attitudes are determined by the functions they
serve for us. Katz distinguishes four types of
psychological functions that attitudes meet.

The The Ego-

Knowledge ATTITUDE Defense
Function Action

The Value-
A. The Adjustment Function

People are most likely to change attitudes if

doing so allows them to fulfill their goals or
helps them avoid undesirable consequences.
B. The Ego-Defense Action

Some attitudes serve to protect people from

acknowledging basic truths about themselves or the
harsh realities of life.
Attitudes can serve as defense mechanisms
Projection: is a device for such; people tend to
dissociate themselves from traits they find
unacceptable to them.
C. The Value-Expressive Function

This help give positive expression to a persons

central values as well as to what type of
person they imagine their selves to be.
A person cultivates attitudes that indicate core
values of their imagined self.
D. The Knowledge Function

This help supply people with standards of

Stereotypes help provide.
A message intended to change an attitude and related behaviors of an
Who says what to whom with what
There are three variables in the context within which
persuasion takes place:
1. The communicator, or the source (who)- The point of
origin of a persuasive communication.
2. The communication, or the message (what)- A
communication from a source directed to an audience.
3. The target, or the audience (to whom)- The intended
target of a persuasive communication.
The Communicator or Source
According to Aristotle, persuasion is achieved by the speakers
personal character when the speech is spoken as to make
people think of him as credible. 5 characteristics to make a
communicator fully and readily credible:
1. Trustworthiness
3. Liking
4. Similarity
5. Multiple source
Communicators who are perceived to be trustworthy and
credible produce more attitude change in their audiences.
The Communication or Message
The central persuasive process
The communicator must put some idea or feeling into a form in which
it can be transmitted to the target.
The actual content of the message clearly influences whether people
will accept it or not.
An important aspect of communication is its discrepancy from the
targets initial attitude.
Attitude change tends to increase with more discrepancy up to a
point, when it starts to fall off again.
Communications can arouse emotional needs such as anger or fear
and tend to be accepted if the position advocated reduces the need it
has aroused.
The Communication or Message
5 factors that contribute to a communications
1. Fear appeals
2. Conclusion drawing
3. Multiple messages
4. One-sided versus Two sided communication
5. Personal- involvement
The Target or Receiver
There are people who are gullible while there are those who are
stubborn; persuasion depends on the target and how they derive
The effectiveness of communication that is designed to persuade
depends on a good situational and other factors; the susceptibility
of an individual to persuasion is difficult to make.
5 factors that affect persuasion process to the audience
1. Persuasibility
2. Initial Position
3. Intelligence
4. Self-esteem
5. Personality
Message Learning: Two Models of
1. Elaboration- Likelihood Model- Petty and
Cacioppos model of attitude change- when
people attend to a message carefully, they use a
central route to process it; otherwise they use a
peripheral route.
Message Learning: Two Models of
2. Heuristic- Systematic Model- Chaikens model of attitude change-
when people attend to a message carefully, they use systematic
processing; otherwise they process information by using heuristics, or
mental short cuts.

In summary, when people are motivated to attend to a message and to

deal with it thoughtfully, they use a central route to process it according to
the elaboration-likelihood model, or process it systematically according to
heuristic-systematic model. When attention is reduced so that people
become cognitively lazy, they use a peripheral route or resort to heuristics.
Any significant modification of an individuals attitude. In persuasion process,
this can involve the source, message and target. Attitude change can also occur
by inducing a person to perform an act which is counter to an existing attitude.
Theories of Attitude Change
Attitude theories have been organized into four categories:

A. Consistency Theories
B. Learning Theories
C. Social Judgement Theories
D. Functional Theories
Consistency Theories
The basic assumption of these theories is the need of the
individual for consistency.
There must be consistency between attitudes, between
behaviors, and among attitudes and behaviors.
A lack of consistency causes discomfort so that an
individual attempts to ease the tension by adjusting
attitudes or behaviors in order to once again achieve
balance or consistency.
Consistency Theories
A. Balance Theory
B. Affective- Cognitive Theory
C. Cognitive- Dissonance Theory
Learning Theories
This section might more accurately be called behavioral
theories of attitude change.
These theories were also developed during the 1950s and
1960s. During this time, learning theories reflected
behavioral psychology.
A major commonality of these theories was their emphasis
on the stimulus characteristics of the communication
People learn information and facts about different attitude
objects, and they also learn the feelings and values
associated with those facts.
Learning Theories
A. Classical Conditioning
B. Persuasive Communication
C. Operant Conditioning
Social Judgement Theories
Social judgment theory focuses on how people's prior
attitudes distort their perceptions of the positions
advocated in persuasive messages, and how such
perceptions mediate persuasion.
An attempt to apply the principles of judgment to the study
of attitude change.
Social judgment theory's core propositions can be summarized as follows (Eagly & Chaiken,
A person's current attitude serves as a judgmental anchor for new attitude positions.
Latitude widths determine whether a message's position will be assimilated or contrasted
(e.g., accepted or rejected). Positions falling within the latitude of acceptance will be
assimilated toward a person's current attitude. Positions falling within the latitude of
rejection will be contrasted away from the person's own attitude.
Ego involvement of a person broadens the latitude of rejection and narrows the latitude of
non commitment.
Both assimilation and contrast effects increase as a positive function of a message's
position and the recipient's attitude,
Ego involvement increases the anchoring property of initial attitudes.
Greater assimilation produces more positive evaluation of message content, which produces
greater amounts of attitude change. Conversely, greater contrast produces more negative
evaluations of message content, which produces lesser amounts of attitude change.
Ambiguity enhances the likelihood of judgmental distortions. Therefore, other effects are
greater when recipients are exposed to persuasive messages whose content positions are
Social Judgement Theory
A. Persuasive Communication
B. Vygotskys Constructionism
Functional Theories
Functional theories suggest that attitudes serve a variety of
psychological needs and that changing an attitude requires an
understanding of its purpose in the life of the individual who holds it.
Katz proposed that any attitude held by an individual served one or
more of the four distinct personality functions.
The more of these functions that contributed to an attitude system,
the stronger and less likely it was that the attitude could be changed.
The reasons for attitude changes are individualized and related to
personal functions of attitudes.
Functional Theories
The central theme of functional theories is that changing an attitude
requires understanding its motivational basis, or its function for the
Four personality functions of attitudes

The utilitarian function

The knowledge function
The ego-defensive-function
The value- expressive function
The Association for Educational Communications and Technology. ( 2001, August 3).
Theories of Attitude Change. Retrieved from
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