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  1. Penny S. Visser

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0097

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Visser, P. S. 2010. Attitudes. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Chicago

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Psychologists use the term attitude to refer to a general evaluation that an individual holds regarding a particular entity, such as an object, an issue, or a person. An individual may hold an extremely favorable attitude toward a particular political candidate, for example, and a mildly unfavorable attitude toward another candidate. Thus, attitudes vary in valence as well as extremity, and they reflect an individual's overall summary evaluation of an attitude object. Attitudes toward the countless objects that we encounter in our day-to-day lives are stored in memory, and they remain at least somewhat stable over time. In this way, attitudes are different from fleeting, momentary evaluative responses to an object. In addition, attitudes are specific to particular objects, unlike diffuse evaluative reactions like moods or dispositions.