A learned and permanent propensity to perceive or respond to people or events in a specific manner is called attitude. An attitude is a state of mind that lasts over time and predisposes the person to perceive the world from a particular perspective. Individuals can change attitudes, which people can acquire via experience and socialization.
According to psychology professor Frank Samuel Freeman “An attitude is a dispositional readiness to respond to certain institutions, persons or objects in a consistent manner which has been learned and has become one’s typical mode of response.”
Louis Leon Thurstone says, “An attitude denotes the total of man’s inclinations and feelings, prejudice or bias, pre-conceived notions, ideas, fears, threats and other any specific topic.”
American psychologist Anne Anastasi defines attitude as the “Tendency to react favorably or unfavorably towards a designated class of stimuli, such as a national or racial group, a custom or an institution.”
A taught disposition or belief that enables us to anticipate conduct is commonly understood as an attitude. Generally speaking, attitudes are thought to occur on various measuring continua, such as those ranging from extremely favorable to highly unfavorable, more vital to weaker intensity levels, and higher to lower resolution or stability levels.
There are many different ways to define attitude. Some assert that possessing an attitude causes one to behave in a particular manner, while others contend that an attitude may exist in one’s mind since circumstances might confine outward behavior.
Therefore, it is beneficial to think of attitudes as consisting of three components:
1. a cognitive element made up of thoughts and beliefs.
2. an affective element made up of values and emotions.
3. a behavioral element, including propensity to behave and acts
Using language to communicate one’s attitude is considered behavior by psychologists. By altering attitudes, those who utilize a psychological definition of attitude want to lessen bias and discrimination. A desire to act is seen in verbal expression when defining attitude from a sociological perspective.
The idea that an attitude is a “mental stance with relation to a fact or situation or a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state” is prevalent in sociological definitions. By altering behavior, those who utilize a sociological definition of attitude want to lessen bias and discrimination.
In other words, measuring attitudes and utilizing them to predict behavior without changing them has been a worry of sociologists studying attitudes from the field’s start.
Sociologists, particularly the symbolic interactionists of the Chicago School, have cast doubt on the usefulness of the term “attitude” and the efficacy of attitudes in predicting behavior.
Because there is nothing to connect consecutive and dissimilar operational definitions of particular attitudes, Blumer (1955) said that this idea has not been operationalized and has not yielded significant information. It “presupposes a faulty image of human conduct,” which is his main criticism. He notes the incapacity to monitor or exert control over the circumstances that arise between examining an attitude and the conduct it is assumed to be related to.
Functions of Attitudes
The person may benefit from their attitudes. Daniel Katz outlined four functional domains in 1960:
1. Self/Ego Expressive
People’s attitudes (1) serve to convey who they are and (2) could make them feel good about themselves since they have affirmed who they are. Individuals may also express attitudes nonverbally.
Expressing one’s sentiments, beliefs, and values via attitudes contributes to one’s sense of self and aids in one’s awareness.
People will reward someone with praise and social acceptability if they possess and exhibit socially acceptable views. The adaptive functions assist individuals in fitting in with a social group; therefore, attitudes have to do with belonging to a social group. People look for those with the same views as them and adopt those attitudes themselves.2. Knowledge
Life has importance because of our attitudes. The requirement for a consistent, stable reality is known as the knowing function. This knowledge offers individuals a feeling of control by enabling them to anticipate what is most likely to occur. Human experiences may be structured and organized by their attitudes.
3. Ego defensive
The term “ego-defensive function” refers to having beliefs that defend individual self-worth or that provide an explanation for behaviors that make individuals feel bad.