Attitude Theories - Essay

Topics: Classical conditioning, Behaviorism, Operant conditioning Pages: 2 (602 words) Published: January 28, 2012
Attitude Theories
Attitudes are our positive and negative evaluation of a situation or object. Attitudes can be divided into three distinct components the cognitive, affective and the behavioral. They may take the form of the implicit attitude, explicit attitude and the dual attitude.

The components of attitudes are the cognitive which helps people structure the world to make sense to them, the affective which helps people cope with emotional conflicts and the behavior helps people achieve rewards and gain approval from others.

One way that attitudes can be formed is through the classical conditioning theory. Classical conditioning is “learning through association when a neutral conditioned stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus that naturally produces an emotional response” (Franzoi 2010,p.157). Classical Conditioning is the affective component of attitudes. An example of classical conditioning would be “the soft click of the switch that turns on a noisy bathroom fan would have little effect on your behavior. After the click a conditioned has been paired with a loud noise an unconditioned on several occasions you might begin to react to the click alone conditioned response” (Bacon and Kalsher, 2008, p.161). Another example would be the famous study the dogs salivating at the saw or smelled food but not tasted it. Then they salivated at the sight the person bringing the food.

Classical conditioning can be very useful in helping in the learning in shaping attitudes to protect us from overcoming certain fears in life and also help acquire aversion to certain foods. Classical conditioning is a gradual process. Using this conditioning can help shape, form different attitudes in many of life situations. Classical conditioning of attitudes occurs below the level of conscious awareness.

The other very influential way to shape attitude is the Operant conditioning form of learning. Through the behavioral component (Franzoi, 2010, p....

References: Bacon, R. and Kalsher, M, (2008). Psychology: From Science to Practice 2nd
Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon
Franoi, S. (2010). Social Psychology 5th Ed.
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