To what extent may attitudes predict behaviour?
Why do people act in different ways? Some are kind, some are mean. Some do good, while other mean only harm. Some of them are aggressors, while others are peace holders. Some of them are positively prejudiced rather than others who almost always have a negative outlook of life and its diversities. Some of them feel a sense of sympathy towards an object or a subject, while others dislike it. Exploring and understanding behaviour and all of its features has been a life-long ambition for many scholars and professors over the centuries. But their major concern was to establish what particularly the essence of the component preceding behaviour is, whether there is something that lies beneath the way we respond to a particular situation or stimulus.
There are many theories whose aim is to explain behaviour – biological, cognitive, social. One of the most influential ones, though, is said to be the social theory of attitudes. The most punctual definition of attitude is that its matter is to express one’s feelings and thoughts about an object or a subject, which can later alter, depending on time, emotions, persuasion, etc. Although many scientists have disputed the fact that there is a strong correlation between our attitude towards something and the way we act to show it , some plausible researches and experiments have been conducted on how the opposite is proved. In 1974, Kelley and Mirer, for instance, dissected a couple of surveys related to the four political campaigns for choosing a president during a twelve years period of time. What they actually realized by the time they have finished their studies was that 85 per cent of the voters have been quite consistent in their attitude regarding their choice of candidate or a party, despite the fact that the survey was conducted in a two months’ time preceding the day of the actual voting. Another closely related study to that...
References: Jonathan L.Freedman, David O. Sears and J. Merill Carlsmith. (Fourth edition). Attitudes and Attitude Change. (Pp. 429-435). Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Michael A. Hogg and Graham M. Vaughan. “Social Psychology”. (Sixth edition). Attitudes. (Pp. 153-163). Pearson: Prentice hall.
Miles Hewstone and Wolfgang Stroebe. (Third edition). Attitudes. (Pp. 270-275). Blackwell.
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