13 Attitudes in Social Behavior
Personality and Social Psychology
II. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Published Online: 26 SEP 2012
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition
How to Cite
Maio, G. R., Olson, J. M. and Cheung, I. 2012. Attitudes in Social Behavior. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 5:II:13.
- Published Online: 26 SEP 2012
Attitudes have important consequences for understanding social behavior. As tendencies to evaluate a particular target with favor or disfavor, attitudes are related to other important psychological constructs (e.g., values, goals), while being conceptually and empirically unique. In this chapter, we review social psychological research and theory about attitudes and their link to behavior. After defining attitudes and comparing them to other important social psychological constructs (e.g., values), we examine the measurement of attitudes and the distinction between explicit and implicit measures. We then discuss the psychological content, structure, and function of attitudes, interrelations among attitudes, and the relations between attitudes and higher-order constructs, such as values and ideologies. Next, we describe a number of important characteristics that vary between attitudes (e.g., accessibility from memory, certainty), followed by discussions of how attitudes form and how they shape information processing. Finally, we consider the relation between attitudes and behavior.