Components and Dimensions of Attitudes

Attitudes- positive or negative evaluations of objects of thought (“objects of thought” could be social issues, groups, people, institutions, etc.)

Three components of attitudes

  1. Cognitive Component- made up of beliefs that people hold
  2. Affective Component- emotional feelings about objects of thought
  3. Behavioral Component- predispositions to act in a certain way toward an object of thought

Strong attitudes tend to be easily accessible (EX. when one strongly believes in something, he or she tends to incorporate that object of thought in everyday life)

Accessibility- depends on how often the attitude comes to mind

Attitude strength also correlates with one’s vested interest in the object of thought

  • The more knowledge and information one has about the object, the stronger their attitude towards it tends to be (When one has a specific agenda or concern, they tend to pinpoint information that supports their opinion)

Attitudes can also be ambivalent- include positive and negative feelings about the object of thought (EX. A student cannot decide whether she wants to go to St. John’s because she likes the classes, but doesn’t like the campus.)

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