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Kendra Cherry

Understanding Attitudes: How They Form, Change and Influence Behavior

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideAugust 3, 2011

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The study of attitudes is one of the major areas of interest in social psychology. Attitudes can have a powerful effect on behavior. The attitudes you've developed influence everything from what products you choose to buy to the political candidates you vote for. But how exactly do these attitudes develop? How can you change an undesirable or problematic attitude?

As you can imagine, observational learning plays a fairly big role in the formation of attitudes. From watching and imitating parents and caregivers early in life to the influence of friends and role models, the attitudes and beliefs of the people you interact with and admire have a strong impact on your own beliefs about certain things.

Of course, we don't always behave in ways that are consistent with our attitudes. While people often feel strongly about a political issue or candidate, it does not necessarily mean that they go out to vote on election day.

Researchers suggest that people are more likely to behave in ways consistent with their attitudes when these beliefs are the result of direct experience or when they personally stand to win or lose something as a result of the issue.

Learn more about how attitudes develop, how they impact our behavior and ways in which they can be changed in this overview of attitudes.

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